Pistons forward Josh Smith badly airballed a potential game-winning jumper during the closing seconds of Detroit's 89-85 loss to New York on Tuesday.
This isn't exactly what you hope to see when the game is on the line. Maybe a gust of wind suddenly swept through Madison Square Garden?
With less than 15 seconds remaining and the Knicks leading 86-85, Brandon Jennings worked the clock at the top of the key before sending the ball to Smith, who worked one-on-one against Carmelo Anthony on the right wing. Turning to face the basket after the catch, Smith went through a brief series of fakes before pulling up for an 18-foot jumper that wound up about four feet short.
Neither team was prepared for such a blatant miss, and the Knicks eventually collected the loose ball in the corner, forcing the Pistons to foul with less than 10 seconds remaining. New York added three points in the final seconds to close up the victory.
Smith is a 34.5 percent shooter in isolation situations this season, per My Synergy Sports, and a 27.3 percent shooter on long twos from the right wing, per NBA.com/stats. After shooting 6-for-14 on the night, Smith expressed some remorse over his decision-making on the final play to the Detroit News following the game.
“I’m still beating myself up because I could’ve took the initiative on the refs to make the call,” Smith said. “It’s a shot that will be with me until the next game, so I can’t get it out of my head. I’m still trying to be relentless and aggressive, it was one possession less aggressive and I should’ve been most aggressive.”
The MSG broadcasting crew didn't mince words in assessing Smith's choice.
"Smith took a bad shot and it didn't even come close," play-by-play man Mike Breen said.
Color commentator Clyde Frazier added: "He's just going to throw the ball up in the air. It didn't look like a shot attempt. ... What was that?"
Perhaps New York was due for some late-game miscues to go their way for once, as Andrea Bargnani and J.R. Smith have both made headlines in recent weeks for their blunders.
Smith finished with a team-high 21 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals, two blocks and eight turnovers. Andre Drummond added 12 points and 17 rebounds for Detroit in a losing effort.
Anthony led the Knicks with 34 points (on 13-for-24 shooting), four rebounds, two assists and four steals. Bargnani added 13 points (on 6-for-13 shooting) and 11 rebounds in the win.
New York improved to 12-22 with the win. Detroit fell to 14-21 with the loss.