Jazz forward Trevor Booker used a trick shot to beat the shot clock against the Thunder and his over-the-head slap surely qualifies as one of the year's best and most creative efforts.
The wacky play unfolded with Gordon Hayward inbounding the ball on the right sideline and the Jazz leading 48-44 with about a minute to go before halftime. The problem: only 0.2 seconds remained on the shot clock, and NBA rules require 0.3 seconds to complete a full catch and shooting motion. In other words, any legal shot by Utah had to be of the tip variety.
Enter Booker. After using a back pick to establish low post position, the power forward slid out toward the right block with Russell Westbrook on his back. Hayward entered the ball using a bounce pass, and Booker simply slapped the ball with both hands backward over his own head rather than securing the ball with a catch. His long-shot idea worked perfectly, as the ball arced over Westbrook and swished home, bringing a smile to his face and causing Hayward to raise his arms in celebration.
This one is worth another look. Hover over the image to play it.
Utah took a 50-44 lead into halftime but wound up losing 99-94.
Hayward led the Jazz with 27 points (on 11-for-18 shooting), four rebounds and four assists. Booker chipped in eight points (on 3-for-8 shooting) and nine rebounds.
Kevin Durant posted a game-high 32 points (on 14-for-21 shooting), six assists and five rebounds. Westbrook added 25 points (on 9-for-17 shooting), 12 assists and four rebounds.
Oklahoma City improved to 18-19. Utah dropped to 13-24.