Posted February 01, 2013

Video: Marc Gasol takes full advantage of the league’s continuation rules

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, Rob Mahoney

By Rob Mahoney

The precise nature of the NBA’s fouling rules inspire behavior that may seem a bit backward to the uninitiated. Once an offensive player feels a nudge, shove, slap, pull or any other contact he believes to be a foul, he typically responds by throwing the ball toward the rim — no matter how wild the attempt. A lack of balance or viable angle hardly deters his efforts to hoist up a shot, because the real goal isn’t a shot attempt. As long as a player is deemed to be shooting when the whistle is blown, he gains the benefit of a trip to the free-throw line as opposed to the more minor, latent benefits of a non-shooting foul call.

Every player is well aware of this discrepancy, and thus the whistle itself often acts as a cue for players to throw up whatever attempts they can muster. Some players wind up earning a trip to the line on those “attempts” while some don’t, and others — like Memphis’ Marc Gasol — wind up scoring a basket outright on the basis of a wild fling that was never exactly intended to go in.

What’s amazing about this play is just how obvious Gasol’s designs to pass were. Even after he gets a shove from Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins, Gasol is looking for a bailout pass to Jerryd Bayless rather than an actual foul call, and he only begins to formulate a shot attempt once the whistle sounds. That his makeshift attempt even gets close is a matter of good fortune, and that he winds up converting the basket a miracle.