By Chris Le
Everyone in Orlando and their moms are pulling out their hair over Courtney Lee’s missed alley-oop layup. Understandable because, ooh wee, it was a big one that would’ve tied the series at one game apiece. Instead, the ball bounced off the glass and clanked the outer edge of the rim, and the game was sent into overtime where the Lakers took control and won, 101-96.
Not to sound all dramatic and hyperbolic, but Lee will be haunted by that layup for the rest of his life. Players need to sack up and finish in end-game situations if they want to win a championship, and Stan Van drew up a greaaat play. Plus, Kobe Bryant blew that defensive assignment by failing to switch off the screen, freeing up Lee for the lob. He had a chance to embarrass one of the best defenders in the league, and he blew it. He can’t count on Kobe botching another play. Boo hoo for Lee because he will have to live with the albatross of squandering a golden opportunity to dramatically alter this series. My thoughts are with him today. I doubt he got much, if any sleep last night.
But I’m not labeling this kid a complete goat. I seem to be the contrarian in this debate, but I thought it was a tougher play than most people make it out to be. Everyone is saying, Oh, man! He’s been making that play ever since he was shooting hoops in the backyard! It was a point-blank layup, bro, a shot I could make if given the opportunity. These are probably the same meatheads who high-five their buddies while watching porn and think they could f*ck Jenna Jameson better than Ron Jeremy. Come on, buddy. Be real.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a very manageable shot; I mean, the ball was two feet away from the rim. But Hedo Turkoglu’s inbounds pass could’ve been more on-point. It was a little long and a split-second too late, which is why Lee caught the ball behind the backboard, had to go under-and-up to release the shot, all while momentum was dragging him out of bounds. Then you factor in he’s only a rookie and he felt the need, with a scant 0.6 seconds left, to rush what really was a reverse layup.
Again, he’s a pro and he should’ve made the shot, but this wasn’t your typical layup you run during warmups. That’s all I’m saying.