This was so weird. Robin Lopez lost his shoe in New York’s 120-114 win over the visiting Celtics Tuesday night. This happens sometimes on the court. Despite Lopez’s size-20 feet, he must wear them loose because one of those kicks slipped off and he was forced to play multiple possessions with a single shoe.
But it was what happened when a trainer tried to return to the shoe to Lopez during a stoppage in play that really alarmed us. That’s because Amir Johnson slapped the sneaker out of the trainer’s hand right as he was trying to make the exchange with Lopez.
Amir Johnson is a SAVAGE ? https://t.co/aOUtI4GW5r
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 13, 2016
You can see Lopez’s bewilderment. It’s totally unnecessary. If it were in the middle of a play, maybe you could see how it might benefit the Celtics to distract Lopez by not letting him have his sneaker, but this was a dead ball situation. Johnson had nothing to gain by the hijinks; the C’s big man was only doing it to get under Lopez’s skin.
Not only that, but after slapping it out of Lopez’s hands, he banked in a step-back shot over Lopez with the shot clock running down after play was resumed.
Still, Lopez’s Knicks won the game, despite Carmelo coming up lame before the end. Robin scored 15 points in the win, going 6-of-7 from the field.
Keeping a player from retrieving their sneaker is a time-honored tradition. The first time we remember seeing it happen was when Dwyane Wade picked up and tossed Mike Bibby’s kick into the crowd. Or how about the time then-Laker Ronnie Price used his sneaker to try and stop a Warriors fast break? Then there’s Marc Gasol…
While Lopez didn’t attempt a shot while he was sneaker-less, both Andre Iguodala and Mike Miller have knocked down big shots in the Finals while missing one half of their footwear tandem.