By Rob Mahoney
It's fairly common practice for NBA point guards to "walk the dog" -- a maneuver by which they delay their acceptance of the inbounds pass (which is rolled upcourt instead of passed outright) and thus prevent the immediate starting of the clock. It's a good strategic move for those looking to make the most of what precious few seconds remain on the game clock, though not altogether necessary in some of the cases in which it's used.
The ploy is so commonly used that on Monday night, Orlando's Jameer Nelson had it pegged from the start. When Washington's John Wall signaled to his teammate, Jan Vesely, to roll the ball in, Nelson lurked at halfcourt. He darted toward the ball and Wall hesitated -- likely keeping the mere four seconds remaining on the clock in mind -- just long enough for a diving Nelson to reverse the play, recover the ball and flip it to Josh McRoberts for an easy dunk at the buzzer. It was ultimately just a single basket in what turned out to be an embarrassing, 29-point loss for the Magic, but an incredible display of effort that upset one of the stranger clock-saving devices in basketball.