By Ben Golliver
J.J. Barea? More like J.J. Croquet-a.
Sorry, couldn't resist. Not after watching the diminutive Timberwolves guard attempt to split the wicket by sneaking through the legs of Thunder center Hasheem Thabeet during the second quarter of Minnesota's 101-93 home win Friday.
A benign high screen from Greg Stiemsma took an adventurous turn when Reggie Jackson pushed through the pick, closing the window for Barea to split between the screen and Thabeet. Trapped, with a left turn not easy to make and the right totally cut off, the 6-foot-0 (generously listed) Barea ducked his head and attempted to go straight through the tunnel created by the 7-foot-3 Thabeet's legs. The lean-forward limbo proved unsuccessful, as Barea lost his dribble and couldn't get his shoulders through before Thabeet eventually jumped backwards.
The play ended with a foul called on Jackson for blowing up the screen. Regardless, a cheeky and hilarious stunt from Barea. In a league where players jump completely over each other, why shouldn't someone attempt the opposite? I'm thinking this should be a part of the Skills Challenge at the 2014 All-Star Weekend: dribble around a cone, pass the ball into a net, duck between the thighs of a giant, make a lay-up. Perfect. Video via YouTube user firstandskol | Hat tip: @CJZero