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NBA

The Best Bucket Of The Night Was The One That Didn’t Go In

Screenshot: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Is it “highlight inflation” to get excited about something that almost happened but didn’t, and in the end, had no bearing on the result of last night’s Suns-Sixers game? Is this suddenly a different and much more interesting website if we are feverishly covering cool events that did not occur? Perhaps. But the alternative to doing a post about this is doing one about eight straight N*w Y*rk Kn*cks wins. So who cares! Watch the incredible almost-game-tying, one-handed desperation heave Joel Embiid sent across the court off a rebounded free-throw miss with 0.8 seconds left. And also watch the zoomed-in, slow-motion replay to see just how close this one was—really, halfway down—to going in.

It was a kind of fitting end to a real Embiid Game, a typically dominant performance in a loss for the shorthanded Sixers. Embiid finished 14-of-23 from the field with 38 points and 17 rebounds. Though Matisse Thybulle did excellent defensive work on perennial Sixers-killer Devin Booker in Ben Simmons’ absence, holding Booker to just 19 points, that still left Chris Paul, who put up 28.

Anyway, take some consolation delight in the good reactions to Embiid’s shot: a blank-faced Booker at the other end, looking a little irked, if anything, that he had to endure this fraction of a second; George Hill leaping in the air in disbelief at half-court and then being so bummed he had to lean on Mikal Bridges for support when it rimmed out; also every fan courtside losing their minds. Embiid himself crumpled to the ground after the miss, but was more subdued in a postgame interview, when he called it simply “unfortunate.”

“I don’t know what to say about that shot,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s just one of those things that could’ve made for a really long flight, long night. Not a lot of sleep.”