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Revisiting ’93 Again: Was it goal-tending?

 

Last week, CelticsHub gave a brief tribute to Alonzo Mourning on the evening the Heat retired his number. For us, the most memorable Zo moment was his last-second go-ahead jumper to give Charlotte a 3-1 series win over Boston in the first round of the ’93 playoffs.

Zo’s jumper went through the net with 0.4 seconds left, leaving the C’s to try a desperation inbounds alley-oop from Kevin McHale to Dee Brown. The play worked, and Dee Brown had a decent chance to catch the ball and lay it in, only Kendall Gill knocked it away. Sixteen years later, I was convinced that Gill goal-tended the ball, and I called on readers to find a clip of the play. One reader delivered. Here it is; McHale’s inbounds pass starts at the 4:30 mark.

My first reaction is: How in the world did NBC not have a better camera angle for this? My second reaction is: perhaps I’ve been wrong all of these years? I honestly cannot tell from the clip exactly what happened on this play. Does Gill touch the ball? Is it ever on the rim or in the cylinder? 

Dare I even ask whether there is a better clip out there somewhere? Because, to me, that replay is inconclusive. Damn. 

It is fun to see the Celtics go berzerk and sprint, as a unit, over to referee Bob Delaney in protest as Delaney just stands there silently until a security guard with a mullet walks him off the court. Great screen by X-Man to free up Dee Brown for the cut to the hoop, and McHale’s pass was even better than I’d remembered. The analyst (who was it? can anyone tell?) criticizes Chris Ford before the play for having McHale make the pass, since McHale is a tall guy who could leap and tap the ball into the basket. But Ford rightly had confidence that McHale could throw the pass better than anyone on the team. Great stuff.

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