There are lots of reasons to love JaVale McGee. You can find many of them here. His spectacularly off-beat personality, his occasional on-court shenanigans: few, if any, players in basketball provide more moments like this. But those moments wouldn’t mean as much without the flipside of McGee, the other reason to love him: he makes some spectacular basketball plays. Plays like this. And, in last night’s controversial 119-118 overtime win over the Bulls (more on the ending later), plays like this:
The most telling things here: the reactions. First off, the announcer, who can only say “Oh my goodness” twice, the second time in a way that almost makes it sound like he’s just seen something horrible happen (and maybe he had, to Joakim Noah). Second, the Bulls’ bench. The telestrator at the 38-second mark above says it all – you know you’ve done something spectacular when opponents are leaving their seats.
And finally: Noah himself. What did he do when he realized his attempt to keep McGee at bay was for naught, that nothing was going to stop him from a violent throwdown? He got the hell out of there. Basketball is dead. (Well, that or Noah was afraid he’d be called for a foul and didn’t want to give McGee an and-one opportunity, though considering McGee’s only a 59 percent free throw shooter, he might not have had much to worry about there.)
McGee finished with 12 points and three rebounds on 6-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes while also recording a block and a steal, if you’re curious.