Wednesday night’s Toronto Raptors-Brooklyn Nets game was one of those incredible things where just too many things happened to keep track of it all. A 26-point comeback. A Brooklyn Chant from Toronto fans. Joe Johnson dropping 30 points. Andray Blatche throwing away a pass to end it all.
But in the midst of all that, we missed something completely ridiculous: Toronto Raptors center Chuck Hayes, better known as that guy in your rec league who never stops moving and leads the league in rebounding despite being both shorter and stouter than every other player, hit an 18-foot shot with 9:11 left in the second quarter.
Doesn’t sound ridiculous? Consider this: Hayes had taken 22 shots from 18 feet or beyond in his entire career, spanning both the regular season and playoffs. He’d missed them all. 17 of those shots came with 1.1 seconds or less on the game clock. 14 were heaves from 30 feet or more. Safe to say Hayes is not a shooter. His previous longest made basket was a 15-foot jumper he made in November 2012 as a member of the Sacramento Kings, in a game down 20. This was the longest made basket of Chuck Hayes’s career.
Hayes is not just “not a jump shooter,” he’s as not a jump shooter as the NBA has ever had. He’s best known for his incredibly awkward free throw hitch, displayed prominently in this video featuring a taunting Allen Iverson. (“He traveled!”)
Not enough? He made the shot off one foot. He shot it off one foot because there’s no way Chuck Hayes can muster enough push off two feet to get that ball anywhere near the basket. He has a negative vertical leap and an inverse wingspan. An 18-footer for Chuck Hayes is like an NBA player shooting a bowling ball from halfcourt.
Still not enough? He made it to tie the game at 33, in a game that his team eventually won by two points, in a playoff series that was knotted a two games apiece. Home teams ahead 3-2 in a best-of-seven series end up winning the series over 92 percent of the time in NBA history.
To simplify: Chuck Hayes hitting an 18-footer basically decided this series. The NBA is ridiculous.
Don’t forget to look at the bench in this clip either. Tyler Hansbrough sits up like he’s seen a jolly ghost, then starts clapping. One assistant coach immediately starts scribbling something on a clipboard, probably impressionist art because he thinks he’s tripping on acid because he just saw Chuck Hayes hit an 18-foot shot off one foot. Another assistant coach just scratches his head, dumbfounded.
Game 6 is Friday night in Brooklyn at 7 P.M. EST. No matter what happens, I don’t think we’ll see anything as rare as that Chuck Hayes shot again.