Thursday, April 28, 2011

A rule the NBA should take from college basketball

The Spurs' comeback to stay alive in their playoff series with the upstart Grizzlies on Wednesday night is an example why most last-second shots in the NBA have nothing on college basketball.

Gary Neal's 3-pointer to save San Antonio is Game 5 was exciting, but on a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult was it compared to some of the most unforgettable shots in college basketball history? Not very difficult. It was simply catch and shoot off a half-court inbounds play. Trained professional basketball players can do that in their sleep.

Could they do just as easy with the game on the line ... off a full-court inbounds play? Yes, they could, but the degree of difficulty would go way up.

Hence, everyone remembers Duke's Christian Laettner's shot to beat Kentucky and Tyus Edney's driving banker to save UCLA during March Madness. Why? On each play, the winning team had to go the length of the court. In other words, it was a man's baksetball play, not some cheapened way to create more opportunities to score in the NBA like we saw with the Spurs' Neal.

Imagine if, after Brandon Knight's shot put Kentucky up, 62-60, during the NCAA men's tournament, the Buckeyes could have received the ball at halfcourt with a much easier attempt at a shot to tie or win the game? It might have saved OSU's season.

Instead, Aaron Craft dribbled the ball almost half the court and passed to a running William Buford, whose 3-pointer was just off the mark. It was a tough play because the Buckeyes had to go to the full length of the court, but had Buford made the shot it would have been one of the most memorable plays in the history of OSU basketball.

Neal's shot? It was nice and saved the Spurs' season ... for now. That's it.

- Mark Podolski


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