The Cleveland Cavaliers’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday was destined to be forgotten. Cleveland was missing its starting backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, as well as Dante Exum, Kevin Love, Kevin Porter Jr, Dylan Windler, and Matthew Dellavedova. The Grizzlies didn’t have Jaren Jackson Jr. or Ja Morant. An NBA Finals preview this was not.
Credit Andre Drummond for still finding a way to make the game memorable, if only for a dubious reason. In the fourth quarter, with Cleveland trailing by one point, Drummond got the ball at the elbow and surveyed the defense.
He waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually, he tried to throw up a … backhanded layup (?) that flew back over his head rather than to the basket. You simply have to watch it for yourself:
This is art. Sick, twisted art. Here’s how it was credited on the game log:
You can’t blame Drummond entirely: two of his Cavs teammates came around a screen at the exact same time, in the exact same place, which complicated Drummond’s passing read. So he just kind of stood there until the end of the shot clock when he had to throw something up.
It was a turnover, yes, but it was so much more than that. Given how incredible NBA players typically are at their jobs, this is a truly mind-blowing sequence.
The Cavs would go on to win, 94-90, to continue their surprising start to the season at 5-4. Drummond finished with a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. He also had six turnovers, none of them more glorious than this one.
I’ll steal a line from my colleague Seth: “it’s like he put down the controller to respond to a text, and then picked it up with his fingers on the wrong buttons.”
That sums it up perfectly. This looks like the dream of Jon Bois’ NBA Y2K come to life. If Griz-Cavs was going to be forgotten forever either way, at least we have this.