The plan was not for Lonnie Walker to try and score a game-winner over the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Yes, Walker was having a good night. He was one of seven Spurs who finished Friday’s 128-126 road victory against the Jazz with double-digit points, posting 19 and joining Keldon Johnson (24 points, eight rebounds), Derrick White (22 points), Dejounte Murray (16 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists), Jakob Poeltl (14 points), Devin Vassell (13 points) and Doug McDermott (11 points).
And yes, San Antonio — the NBA’s top-scoring team in the paint — wasn’t hindered much by 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert’s long limbs and elite defensive instincts, scoring 52 points in the lane.
Poeltl seemed especially unfazed.
Slight work in the paint for Jak pic.twitter.com/tm0gkToRH4— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2021
But the plan, according to Walker, was to get the ball to Murray coming off a triple screen. Murray hadn’t shot the ball particularly well early in the game, making just 3-9 through the first three quarters. But he started heating up in the fourth quarter, picking up seven points on 3-5 shooting and handing out three dimes.
His playmaking was especially helpful in keeping pace with Utah.
LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2021
DJ ➡️ KJ for THREE pic.twitter.com/nhdS9kTlAD
OH MY GOODNESS!— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2021
Jak is in his bag tonight pic.twitter.com/XVCGHl2UTW
So with 25ish seconds to play and the Spurs down by one, Murray handed the ball off to Walker the right wing, then sprinted through a trio of screens along the baseline to the left side of the court with the expectation of getting the ball back. The Jazz were keen to it, though, and made sure Walker couldn’t get the pass off.
So instead, Lonnie received a screen from Jakob, drew Gobert on the switch, darted to the right side of the rim, hooked the ball over the DPOY’s very long arms very cool, calm and collectedly and banked it in with 14.9 seconds left.
You can watch the full highlights from the Spurs’ come-from-behind win below: