The 'other' big shot
The 3 was huge, but Houston's late jumper did in Spurs
Posted: Tuesday June 22, 1999 02:07 AM
By John Donovan, CNN/SI
NEW YORK -- There was the 3-point prayer, with the score tied late in the third quarter and the shot clock running out.
But there was another shot, too, just as important. It may be forgotten, when anybody looks back on this game. Depending on how things work out in Game 4 on Wednesday, though, it might well be the shot that turned this series around.
It was, as everything was Monday night, Houston again. Another jumper that stymied another comeback by the San Antonio Spurs.
It is a basket that Sean Elliott would just as soon forget.
“That was my mistake on that one. I was too far off him,” Elliott said. “It’s a tough situation to be in.”
The play happened with the Spurs down by four points but charging, with three minutes left in the game. After a Knicks timeout, Houston curled off a screen -- pushing off Elliott to get free -- took the inbounds pass at the top of the key, turned to face the basket and stood there, in a standoff, with Elliott.
Houston rocked slightly forward ... and that’s when Elliott made his fatal error. He rocked back slightly, giving Houston the space he needed to pull up for a jumper that hit the back of the rim and dropped straight through the Spurs’ heart.
“He’s a heck of a player. He did a great job tonight,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He was super. I don’t know what else I can tell you.”
Houston finished with 34 points on 10-of-24 shooting and was perfect from the free throw line, making all 12.
He made only two baskets in the fourth quarter. But it was that last one -- the one he popped over Elliott -- that sealed the win and breathed some much-needed life into the Knicks.
“I thought Allan had it really rolling well tonight,” Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “Allan has shown an ability to make critical shots. He has made critical shots for us down the stretch of games. And that’s a rare quality in the league.”
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