During yesterday’s Spurs-Sixers game, an odd sequence took place in the game’s final minutes. Trailing by two points with 90 seconds to play, Philadelphia was beginning to execute their half-court offense when Kawhi Leonard inexplicably fouled Evan Turner off the ball. The move earned the Sixers one shot and the ball, and Gregg Popovich was pissed.
Leonard, as it turns out, had been signaling to come out of the game because he was hurt, but Popovich would not call timeout. So Leonard took matters into his own hands and committed a foul intentionally. But how did Leonard get hurt, exactly?
Via Spurs Nation:
“‘I just hit the hardwood on one of those nails, really hard,’ said Leonard, who made two of the biggest plays of the period for the Spurs. ‘It busted my knee wide open.
‘It kind of felt funny when I tried to explode up the court when we got the ball and I tried to cut to the basket, so I had to come out and see what was wrong before I injured it worse.'”
As gruesome as that sounds, Leonard’s story is a bit fishy. It is true that all NBA courts are made of a hardwood, in most cases maple. But from this story on Connor Sports Flooring, which delves into the fascinating world of March Madness Final Four court making, comes this important paragraph (via USA Today):
“Finally, the planks are fitted together in 8-by-4-foot panels that, when attached to the subfloor, weigh more than 200 pounds apiece. The panels are laid out and locked together via metal strips in the subfloor and carefully numbered so that they can be put down in the exact same order again.”
This same company made the Nets’ brand new floor at the Barclays Center, so we can presume that this standard of non-nail wood paneling applies to the rest of the NBA as well. So if Leonard didn’t smack his knee on a loose nail, what happened?
Let’s watch the video:
A little post-crossover shame, eh? That makes much more sense.