Gilbert Shoots From 79 Feet
Gilbert's range doesn't extend to 79 feet. He told us so after the game Wednesday night. But that didn't stop him from making "a shooting motion" 79 feet from the basket at the end of the first quarter against the Bulls, earning three free throws.
I know the game stories mentioned this, especially in Chicago, but I'm not done with it. To me, it was the most noteworthy part of Wednesday's game, because it was something I've never before seen. There were about two seconds left in the first quarter. The ball was gonna be inbounded to Gil. He heard Scott Skiles yell "we have a foul to give, we have a foul to give." He saw Kirk Hinrich coming.
"I just chucked the ball up," Gilbert said.
He got the call. Three free throws. Skiles and Hinrich went nuts, and Skiles got a technical, and that was another free throw. Four-point play. As has often been pointed out, it's easy to blot out Gil's basketball smarts with all the quirk stuff, but he was dead serious when talking about this move after the game.
Everyone wanted him to say "Oh yeah, 79 feet is well within my range, ha ha ha," but he wouldn't. Instead, he wanted to talk about the strategy involved. He said it was the fourth time in his career he's gotten that call, and although this was the farthest away from the basket, he said he got the call once from halfcourt. Wizards PR whiz Daren Jenkins told me that Gilbert tried to do the same thing in New York, launching the ball backwards over his head as he was fouled, but that he didn't get the call there.
"When I know they're fouling, as soon as I see them getting ready to reach I just shoot it," Gil said. "It's just one of those plays nobody really thinks about doing."
The Bulls, of course, were not amused.
"In the 20 years that I've been in the league, I've seen that shooting motion hundreds of times from guys trying to get that call, and I've never seen it awarded before,'' Skiles told reporters.
"I didn't think he was shooting," Hinrich said. "He went up to shoot it after I fouled him. But what do you do? I think he probably heard Scott tell me to take a foul. I guess it was a smart play on his part, but I felt like I fouled him before he went up to shoot."
Anyhow, bravo, I say.
(One other Gilbert quote from Wednesday night, about the likelihood of him winding up at the all-star game.
"Nothing's guaranteed," he said. "I don't believe [bleep] 'till [bleep] happens. I can't say I'm guaranteed. You never know what they're looking for.")
January 12, 2007; 5:56 PM ET
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