The new, improved and recently LeBron James-ified Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a hot start this year as they handily beat out Maccabi Tel Aviv 107-80 during their first exhibition game. They were so hot, in fact, that they even made some shots they didn’t take. In the third quarter, mop-topped Anderson Varejao tried to set up teammate Tristan Thompson for an alley-oop, instead splashing a three on accident as his shot fell a little short of the backboard.
Team USA’s world-dominating performance during the FIBA World Cup earlier this year wasn’t without its challenging moments, but Kyrie Irving’s basket on Turkey wasn’t one of them. After Turkey dominated the first two quarters of the match-up, Irving found himself losing control of the ball while driving to the basket. His misstep launched the ball straight up, and it fell in a textbook teardrop to put America up 55-53. Well, almost textbook.
Another highlight from the FIBA World Cup occurred during Serbia’s game against France when ex-Milwaukee Buck Miroslav Raduljica scored crucial points to keep his country in the competition, all by accident. In the fourth quarter with France trailing by a mere six points, Bogdan Bogdanovic threw a pass to Raduljica. He reached up a hair too late, accidentally prodding the ball and sending it up over his head, off the board and straight into the basket.
Although in the long run it wouldn’t matter with the opposing Orlando Magic beating the then-New Jersey Nets 86-70 that night, DeShawn Stevenson put up a memorable, if desperate, shot at the end of the third. As the final seconds wound down, Stevenson threw a sloppy pass from half-court and ended up burying a three instead. He looked a little embarrassed afterward.
In a 2011 game against the Detroit Pistons, Delonte West of the Boston Celtics turned a pass into points through dumb luck. From outside the arc, West motioned to Marquis Daniels positioned under the hoop that he was going to send him an alley-oop off the board. West put a little too much juice behind the lobs, sinking the shot instead for an easy three points.
In a similar situation during a 2012 game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks, Evan Turner lobbed up an alley-oop pass from outside the arc, sinking it instead. The plot thickens when you realize that, much like Delonte West’s magic three, the shot took place over the head of a defending Tracy McGrady. West’s Philly 76ers would end up winning the game, 98-97.
Early last year, Andre Miller of the Denver Nuggets failed a lob to Kenneth Faried over the head of the Houston Rockets’ Chandler Parsons from near the half-court mark. The shot sailed straight into the basket. However, Faried jumped up in an unnecessary, last-second attempt to help guide the ball in. Because of this, rather than earning points, Miller’s team was awarded a goaltending call.