Gordon Hayward just missed out on his chance at NBA history
He whiffed a few layups. He clanked all eight of his three-point attempts. He botched every one of his catch-and-shoot jumpers. He double-clutched into Tyreke Evans' arm:
Hayward finished 1-for-17 from the field (he made a layup off an offensive rebound), completing not only the worst shooting performance of his career but also one of the worst volume shooting performances in modern NBA history. The 23-year-old swingman was a single attempt short of securing a comfy spot in basketball lore. According to Basketball-Reference, the standing record* for most field-goal attempts with one make or fewer belongs to one Chris Bosh, who went 1-of-18 for Miami against Chicago on Feb. 24, 2011. Also sharing Hayward's 17-attempt plateau are Jason Kidd (1-of-17 in 2002), Tim Hardaway (0-for-17 in 1991) and Quentin Richardson (1-of-17 in 2004).
What was most peculiar about Hayward's nearly historic shooting misery, though, was the "it could happen to anyone" vibe. In general, Hayward is a terrific player and a fine shooter. He's connected on 44.5 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range in his four-year career. On this occasion, too, nothing was much out of the ordinary. Hayward worked hard to get open and had a fairly typical game in terms of the type and difficulty of his looks -- a few misguided attempts to shoot over the elastic, outstretched arms of Anthony Davis aside. The on-ball defense (primarily supplied by Eric Gordon) was decent enough, though it yielded plenty of unbothered looks as a result of Hayward's persistent curl cutting. (Hayward did finish with 11 assists and only one turnover.)
The entire night was just a baffling string of shooting misfortune, in which Hayward couldn't get any shot to stick no matter how hard -- or often -- he tried. *Full game logs -- featuring field goals made and attempted -- only stretch back to the 1985-86 season on Basketball-Reference.