Let’s say an exalted presence like Michael Jordan owns your team, and he’s sitting at the end of your bench during a game. You’d probably want to do whatever it takes to impress the boss, no?
Malik Monk failed miserably on that front at the end of Wednesday night’s game against the Pistons.
With 0.3 of a second left, the Hornets' Jeremy Lamb hit a 22-foot jumper from the right corner to give his team a 108-106 lead, seemingly completing Charlotte’s comeback from a 12-point third quarter deficit. But as Lamb celebrated his first-ever NBA buzzer-beater, officials huddled at the courtside monitor, where they determined that Monk and fellow substitute Bismack Biyombo had run several yards onto the floor on the opposite end of the court in anticipation of Lamb’s shot going in.
As this all was playing out, Jordan summoned Monk and gently chided him for his over-exuberance, giving him a couple of teasing smacks to the back of his head to drive home his point.
The refs eventually awarded the Pistons only one technical foul shot — the Associated Press tried and failed to get an explanation for that decision after the game — and Langston Galloway made the free throw to cut Detroit’s deficit to one, but its ensuing inbounds pass was intercepted as time expired, and the Hornets escaped with the win.
“My heart stopped for a second there,” Hornets Coach James Borrego told the AP, adding that he never had seen that call made in an NBA game.
Said Lamb, “I thought they were going to call like three techs, get three free throws — something like that."
On Thursday, after the clip went somewhat viral, Jordan felt the need to clarify his tough love, telling the Associated Press that he wasn’t actually angry with Monk and that he merely had given him a “tap of endearment.”
“It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!” he said.
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