Matt Barnes' Half Court Game Winner Is Implausible for All the Reasons

Physics dictate that the thing should not have gone in.
December 10, 2015, 5:52pm

Matt Barnes came up with a huge one last night. Like, a fantasy-level, last-game-of-the-finals, final-countdown miracle shot that kids practice all day instead of working on real skills. Except that the Memphis Grizzlies are nearly .500 and it's only December. But I digress. What's important here is that absolutely nothing about this shot makes sense.

Sure, you could go with the fact that the ball goes in with only 1.1 seconds on the clock, or that the jumper was initiated before the half-court line—or that it swished so, so nice. But what's really mind-boggling about this one is where the man is in his jump when the ball releases.

According to math, it's usually best to release the ball at the top of your jump. If you shoot on the way up, the acceleration will mess with your accuracy. If you shoot at the peak, though, you've obtained your height advantage, and your accuracy remains intact. But, if you shoot on the way down, you're fighting gravity like whoa. Not ideal. You're being sucked back down into a black hole of airballness.

But take a look at Barnes here:

Barnes releases this missile toward the end of his parabola. His legs are already sinking down, his arms are crazy bent. Nothing about it makes sense. Math is thrown out the window for something like this, I suppose.

It's fitting that for a second in the gif above, the ball disappears from the top of the frame and reappears in the hoop. Because everything that happens in between is frankly inexplicable. Crazy stuff.