LeBron James‘ face said it all. J.R. Smith messed up. And the Cleveland Cavaliers paid for his mistake as they lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals 124-114 to the Golden State Warriors in overtime.
The score was tied at 107 with 4.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Cleveland was at the line. George Hill’s free-throw attempt bounced off the rim Jeff Heath Jersey
, and Smith rebounded. Instead of putting a shot up while near the basket, Smith dribbled out toward midcourt and kept it , despite James’ shouts for the ball.
Time ran out. Overtime ensued. Golden State won.
Welcome to the club of big blunders, Smith.
CHRIS WEBBER – 1993
The announcer said it before the game-deciding moment even happened: ”Remember, the Wolverines are out of timeouts.” Well, Michigan’s Chris Webber didn’t remember.
After dribbling into a corner with 11 seconds left in the championship, surrounded by defenders, Webber called a timeout . Automatic technical foul. North Carolina hit two free throws, then two more to seal it.
Michigan lost 77-71. It was the last time the Fab Five played together, as Webber went to the NBA 0-2 in NCAA finals appearances.
MAGIC JOHNSON – 1984
Even legends make mistakes. During Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Magic Johnson lost track of time. His Lakers and the Celtics were tied with 13 seconds left in regulation. Johnson got the ball. For some reason, he ran out the clock , not passing it until it was too late for his teammate to put up a shot.
Boston won that game 124-121 in overtime and ultimately took the series in seven games.
The nickname ”Tragic” Johnson was thrown around after that.
BEATRICE CHEPKOECH – 2017
There are no shortcuts in steeplechase. And during the World Championships, Beatrice Chepkoech accidently tried to make one.
Just two laps into the 3,000-meter event, Chepkoech completely missed a water jump . The bypass forced her to backtrack and trail her competitors. She ultimately made up a lot of ground and finished fourth.
The Kenyan distance runner had been in the lead.
BENNY AGBAYANI – 2000
Runners were on second and third in a regular season game. The Giants hit a fly ball into the outfield Charles Haley Jersey
, where Mets left fielder Benny Agbayani makes the catch. Three outs.
Or so Agbayani thought.
Agbayani jogged to the stands, handed the baseball off to a kid and started to run to the dugout. Only then did he realize his mistake – there were only two outs – and took the ball back from the fan . The giveaway was ruled a two-base error and both runners crossed home as a result. Mets still came out on top 3-2.
MARK FLEKKEN – 2018
Hydration is key, but so is paying attention. In Germany’s second division this season, Duisburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken turned his back and meandered into the goal to take a drink. To his surprise, the moment he turned around, Ingolstadt was right there, sending the ball into his net . There was nothing he could do but stand there at that point.
After the match, Flekken admitted he thought he had a couple moments to spare since his team had just scored and music was playing in the stadium. He also said he won’t be putting his water bottle in the goal anymore.
Luckily for Flekken, Duisburg pulled through 2-1.
Also, that water bottle ended up for auction.
JASON MONEY – 2014
With 3.7 seconds left on the clock, Spanish Fork (Utah) High School was up by three points and facing fourth down. Rather than punting the ball, quarterback Jason Money took it with plans to run out the clock. Which he technically did .
Money stopped at the sideline when he saw zeroes, fully prepared to celebrate, when a Maple Mountain defender realized the play – most importantly, the game – was still live. The whistle hadn’t blown. So, he stripped the ball from Money and a teammate returned it 22 yards to score. Maple Mountain won the playoff game 17-14.
JAMES JACKSON – 1986
Older doesn’t always mean wiser. Former Georgia quarterback James Jackson also didn’t understand the rules of running out the clock. During Georgia’s 1986 matchup against South Carolina Mike Daniels Jersey
, the Bulldogs were up by less than a touchdown with four seconds remaining. James kept the ball until time expired then dropped it on the Gamecocks‘ 10-yard line .
Again, no whistle.
South Carolina scooped it up and took it to the end zone, but at that time in college football, players could not advance a fumble. It was a dead ball the moment the defender touched it. The rule, since changed, saved Georgia, which held on to win 31-26.
BURRILLVILLE HIGH SCHOOL – 2016
There were only four seconds left. So the moment a Burrillville (Rhode Island) High School basketball player stole a Chariho inbounds pass, he thought play was over. His whole team thought it was all over. The ball was chucked up into the air , and they celebrated what they believed to be their victory.
Little did they realize Chariho caught the throwaway and called a timeout before the time actually ran out. With less than a second left, a perfect lob play led to a Chariho game-winning layup.
Burrillville lost 60-59. It was the state championship.
The Atlanta Falcons came into the season with such high expectations.
Then, a jarring dose of reality.
As if a carbon-copy loss in Week 1 wasn't bad enough, two significant injuries on defense have left this team reeling as it prepares for Sunday's home opener against division rival Carolina.
The Falcons lost hard-hitting strong safety Keanu Neal to a season-ending knee injury and were forced to put middle linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve with a foot problem. While Jones is facing a much shorter recovery period, he won't be eligible to return until Week 11.
Just like that, the Falcons are missing two cornerstones of their promising young defense, a pair of third-year players who were both picked for the Pro Bowl last season.
"Let's not sugarcoat it," defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel said after practice Wednesday. "This week Chidobe Awuzie Jersey
, honestly, were two devastating blows."
Duke Riley, who had been starting on the weak side, will move inside to replace Jones. Neal's starting spot in the secondary goes to Damontae Kazee, who was one of the team's most impressive players during the preseason but it still rather new to the position after playing cornerback in college.
"We'll ask those guys to do the things they do best," coach Dan Quinn said. "We won't feature them in exactly the same way we did Deion and (Neal). We'll ask them to play the style that suits them and suits us, too."
The Falcons had been working Riley as both a middle and outside linebacker with this very scenario in mind. He was a bit of a disappointment as a rookie, but Quinn said he had shown significant improvement heading into his second season.
The trickle down of Jones' injury is that rookie Foyesade Oluokun, a sixth-round pick out of Yale, moves up to start on the outside. Kemal Ishmael could also get playing time at that position.
"That's football. People get injured," Ismael said. "New guys have got to step up. We created this team just for that."
While the defense is breaking in two new starters, the offense is still dealing with the same ol' issue.
Ineptitude in the red zone.
In an 18-12 loss to Super Bowl champion Philadelphia, the Falcons managed only one touchdown and nine points out of five drives inside the Eagles 20. On the final play of the game from the 5, Julio Jones landed out of bounds after leaping to catch Matt Ryan's pass 鈥?essentially, the same way the previous season ended with a divisional round playoff loss to the Eagles.
The opener turned up the heat on offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, whose play-calling was widely panned on social media. Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner tweeted that Philadelphia ran the same defensive scheme on the last four plays of the game Kemoko Turay Jersey
, but the Falcons never seemed to figure it out.
"They played 7 across," Warner wrote. "Needed to attack 1 zone w/ 2 guys & it's an easy TD 鈥?they kept sending guys 2 different zones??? Beat zone by overloading it!"
Quinn came to Sarkisian's defense.
Well, sort of.
"For sure, we're not scoring in the red zone like we're capable of," Quinn said. "It's not all execution or the calls. But we've got plenty of work to do down there. There are a number of things where I would like to see improvement."
Most notably, the Falcons attempted 43 passes against Philadelphia but ran the ball only 18 times.
"We play best when we have good balance between the run and the pass," Quinn said. "That's what we need to be. The run game 鈥?how we feature our backs, the play action that goes with it 鈥?that's where so many of our explosive plays come from. We've got to work to get that right."
Ryan agreed with that assessment, but also said it's far too soon to go into panic mode.
"It's a small sample size," the quarterback said. "I believe the work we put in is going to pay off for us as we move forward. I believe that our execution is going to be better the next time we're down there."
Notes: RB Devonta Freeman (knee) did not practice Wednesday, raising concerns that he may not be ready to go against the Panthers. RB Brian Hill was promoted from the practice squad, a further sign the Falcons are concerned about Freeman's status. ... OG Ben Garland (calf) and WR Russell Gage (knee) also sat out practice.
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