I remember the setting pretty vividly because we were in Brooklyn and it was a few days before the 2014 Super Bowl, which was being played in New York. There were a lot of members of the Seahawks at the game, and before tip-off, I watched them showing a lot of love to all the stars on the Nets. They were showing KG love, they were showing D-Will love, they were showing Paul Pierce love — and I was like, “Damn, we’re over here too! I know we aren’t the home team, but shit.”
Fast forward to the end of the game and we were down by one point with 12 seconds left. The Nets had the ball. They had to inbound it, and my job was to take whoever ran past me into the backcourt. As play started and everyone began shuffling around, I saw Joe Johnson breaking towards half-court, which meant he was my guy. Joe hesitated for a split-second, which turned out to be what made what happened next possible.
The Nets were out of timeouts, so Deron Williams had to get a pass in. It looked like he had an opportunity to inbound it to Paul Pierce, but they were out of timeouts, so I think he felt a little rushed and as a result tried to force it to Joe. I was right with him, so I leaped and got the steal.
My first thought as soon as I stole the ball was simply, “Where’s Kyle? Where is Kyle?” I knew I wanted the ball in Kyle Lowry’s hands. I passed it to him near the top of the arc thinking that he’d try to attack and score.
Kyle drove to the basket and had me on his right and John Salmons on his left. The defense collapsed on him, so he passed it back to me. I knew time was ticking, so I wanted to get a quick shot off. As I was about to shoot, out of the corner of my eye I saw Deron Williams chasing me down, so I did a quick fake. He bit, and I took the shot.
I didn’t have time to celebrate. My only thought was, “They have no timeouts left, they can’t advance the ball.” There was only six seconds left and I knew that I couldn’t let Joe Johnson get a touch. He was the leading scorer on that team and I knew that they would try to get him an opportunity. The ball eventually got to Paul Pierce, who got doubled by Amir Johnson and Kyle around the Nets’ three-point line. Paul took the shot, and from my vantage point, it looked like it was on target. I watched the ball glide through the air… and then it fell short. I reached out with my right arm and caught it. At the time, I wanted to throw it in the air, like we were back in college or something, but fortunately I thought better of it.
And then the celebration started. There’s nothing quite like making a big play on the road. What I remember most are the faces of the people in the crowd, both shocked and dumbfounded. I must have re-watched that clip 100 times just to take in those reactions. You put in so much work in just for the opportunity to make a play that can silence an entire arena like that.
And as we made our way back to the locker room, my thoughts went back to before the game when the Seahawks were showing respect to the Nets.
Maybe they should have said what up to us.