Sports

Phoenix Suns Win on Sneaky Buzzer-Beating Alley-Oop

A rule that no other coach seemed to know helped Suns coach Jay Triano beat the Grizzlies.
December 27, 2017, 1:52pm
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies were tied at 97-97 with .6 seconds left in the game. The Suns had an inbounds play inside the Grizzlies half, but with that kind of time left, their options were limited. The only real chance they had was a lob to the basket for an alley-oop. As it turns out, that's exactly what Dragen Bender did:

Now, I know what you're thinking: that looks an awful lot like offensive goaltending and this game probably should have gone to overtime. Well guess what, genius? You don't know shit! Suns coach Jay Triano knows shit, and he's known this shit for something like 15 years. It's impossible for an inbounds play to result in goaltending, because you can't take a shot from out of bounds.

Jay Triano has had it in his back pocket for about 15 years and he installed it shortly after he became the Suns’ interim coach.

“I was trying to create a play where you can score with 0.3 seconds or something,” Triano said.

The play is designed for the inbounds passer, in this case Bender, to try to throw the ball into the basket, only for center Tyson Chandler to tip it in. The beauty of the play: There’s no goaltending on an inbounds pass.

“It’s a rule that a lot of people don’t know,” Triano said.

Even Chandler, the man on the receiving end of Bender's perfect pass, didn't know it was a legal play and had to be assured by Triano that the play—called "Rim," by the way—was not goaltending.

The play was reviewed by officials, but they were reviewing it to make sure Chandler actually touched it. Put another way, they were reviewing to make sure Chandler goaltended. He did, and the play was upheld. Wild! The only downside to the play was that it only took .2 seconds to run, so Memphis had a chance to show off their own secret, teen-aged play, but no dice.

Instead, Memphis lost a heartbreaker in which, moments before Bender-Chandler, they had just pulled off a nine-point comeback over the last five minutes with a tip-in dunk of their own, all but assuring overtime. But then Triano finally, after 15 years keeping this in his back pocket, finally had the perfect opportunity to call out Rim.

“I’ve tried to keep it a secret," he told AZ Central. "It’s not a secret anymore.”