Just over one year ago, now Indiana Pacers guard Jeremy Lam hit a huge shot over the Toronto Raptors while with the Charlotte Hornets.
Let’s be thankful Jeremy Lamb and the Charlotte Hornets weren’t playing the Indiana Pacers on March 24, 2019. Things did not end well for their opponents that night.
The Hornets really had no business being in this game. The Raptors — who would of course go on to be NBA Champions by the end of this season — were a far more talented and put-together team. The Hornets had Kemba to propel them as usual, but outside of him their team wasn’t very good last year. The team went 39-43 and missed the playoffs.
Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam combined for 51 points, 16 rebounds, and 8 assists. All but one Raptors starter landed in the positive in net rating for the game, and all but one Hornets starter ended in the negatives.
The Hornets played just well enough to stick around until the last second, where one might assume a lurking Leonard would either hit a dagger to end the game or snatch a pass from the Hornets to seal it.
The Hornets got the ball down two points with 3.1 seconds left. Lamb came up to take the inbound pass with Kemba Walker off at the top of the 3-point arc waiting for Lamb to swing it over. Having hit several last-second, game-winning shots, Walker was the priority here.
Pascal Siakam swarmed Lamb, knocking the ball away into the backcourt. Lamb recovered, but didn’t have enough time to get the ball to Walker, the team’s first option.
Only one thing left to try. Heave.
Somehow, it finds the backboard and then the bottom of the net. Hornets up by one, game over.
Toronto did everything right here. Frank Kaminsky tries to screen Fred VanVleet to get Walker open, but Leonard and VanVleet pull off the switch, limiting Kemba as an inbound option. Siakam knocks away the ball and makes this shot nearly impossible for Lamb.
This comes down, mostly, to luck, but Lamb had a good game otherwise. He scored 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting beyond the arc, 2-of-7 from 2-point. He had 2 blocks to tack on with his scoring, too.
This game wouldn’t go on to mean much in the history of basketball other than a signature moment for a role player like Lamb.
In his first season with Indy, Lamb is averaging 12.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assits per game and is a primary option for the team’s 3-point shooting.
Lamb tore his ACL in recent months and is currently recovering, and hopefully will be available fairly early on in the 2020-21 campaign for the Pacers. Maybe he has more of these signature moments in his pocket.