Grayson Allen is having a respectable enough season for the plucky and competitive Memphis Grizzlies that it would no longer be accurate or fair to call him Bom Matthew Dellavedova, and that is a true shame. But Allen’s rise from worthless goon to rotation-grade goon can be a boon for the rest of us, too: More playing time means more opportunities for those awkward, goofy, try-hard bloopers Allen excels at, and often in situations loaded with higher stakes. And when the man, say, bricks an uncontested dunk and then has the loose ball fired off his keister in a crucial late-game scenario, the Bill of Rights of our great nation protects our freedom to point at his humiliated rictus and chuckle. And so we shall.
The moment came in the final minute of the first overtime of Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. With the Nuggets down three, Will Barton tried to force the action against Kyle Anderson and lost the ball, which bounced directly into Allen’s hands. Allen pushed the ball up the court and fed Xavier Tillman, who touched it back to Allen; Nikola Jokic, Denver’s last man back, stepped aside, the runway was cleared, swelling music rose to a crescendo, and Allen cocked the ball back for an emphatic game-clinching slam.
We’re going to pause the action there for just a moment, with Allen in mid-flight and the ball raised above his head for the triumphant mega jam, to appreciate how we got to this moment. The Grizzlies led the Nuggets by 12 points late in the fourth quarter, but a combination of rotten offense and tight Denver defense kept Memphis to one bucket over the final four minutes of regulation. Over that span, Allen missed a floater, turned the ball over on an offensive foul, and committed the shooting foul that led to a pair of Jokic free throws to tie the game at 116 with 20 seconds left. Not great.
But our fella’s first shot at redemption came soon enough. On the final possession of regulation, Ja Morant fired a beautiful skip pass to the corner, where a wide-open Allen had a clean look at a game-winning three-pointer, with only the lumbering Jokic to close out and bother his shot.
So Allen had so far not come up real huge in the clutch. But surely this runout with Tillman would change the narrative! After all, as we have seen, it led to Allen flying through the air, poised to punch home a big dunk and finish off the Nuggets once and for all! Hell yeah, Grayson.
Absolutely owned to hell. The Grizzlies would go on to lose in double-overtime.