That’s Jose Calderon nailing the game-winning three-pointer with 0.2 seconds left — all but assuring New York of the win — at the Staples Center Sunday night. Calderon broke a tie score after New York’s play appeared to break down in the final seconds. But if you look at this reaction, you might’ve thought LA’s Marcelo Huertas had just drilled a game winner on him, instead of the other way around:
Contrast that with Knicks super fan, Spike Lee, and you get two wildly divergent ways of dealing with what’s supposed to be a happy moment in an athlete’s life.
So, what the hell gives?
When Calderon was asked about his stone face, Andrew Keh of the New York Times wrote that Calderon “smirked and said, ‘I’ll keep that one to myself.'”
The last offensive play did appear to be the end result of a broken sequence, which might explain the tepid response from the hero of the moment, considering who probably wanted to hit the game-winner. He hit the dagger only after Carmelo Anthony poured in 12 fourth-quarter points to help the Knicks come back. New York faced a four-point deficit after Kobe Bryant — playing his last game ever versus the Knicks, and good friend, ‘Melo — hit a turnaround jumper with 1:31 left to extend the Lakers lead to 85-81.
Bryant’s — it turned out, final — bucket was followed by a ‘Melo pull-up for three, a Bryant miss, and then another long Anthony jumper, giving the Knicks a one-point advantage with 56 seconds left. Lou Williams hit a long jumper to give the Lakers the lead back, and Robin Lopez tied it after hitting one of two free throws.
That’s when Bryant missed, setting up the final play with Calderon.
It did appear the play was for Carmelo at the top of the key, but there was an errant in-bounds to Robin Lopez, and Julius Randle double-teamed ‘Melo with Kobe, forcing Lopez to dish to Calderon.
Was Anthony a tad upset he didn’t get a chance to win it against his friend and rival? That might explain Calderon’s stone face, but none of this really matters. It’s not like the Knicks or the Lakers are involved in any basketball past April 13. This might be both team’s apogee in the last month of the season.