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.