01.19.09

Remembering The Genesis Of The Trent Tucker Rule

Posted in Basketball at 2:15 pm by

The Knicks are hosting their annual Martin Luther King Day matinee at MSG and are currently tied at 97 with da Bulls, with 2:07 remaining.  While I’m sure the finale will be remembered by spectators and participants alike for at least several hours, I sincerely doubt this game will end with a 3-pointer launced with .01 seconds remaining. Mostly because it’s currently against the rules.  From the Chicago Tribune’s January 15, 1990 edition and former TribCo staffer Sam Smith :

There aren’t many things one can do in a tenth of a second, except perhaps blink an eye. You don’t even have enough time for a quick prayer.

But Knicks guard Trent Tucker did.

In that time Monday, Tucker took an inbounds pass from Mark Jackson, rolled the ball around in his hand and launched a 28-foot prayer of a shot that left the Bulls blinking in disbelief about the Knicks’ 109-106 victory in Madison Square Garden.

“I don’t see how you can get a shot off in a tenth of a second,” said Bulls coach Phil Jackson. “The only way is to volleyball it or punch it. Everyone knows that. It’s logic.”

But Jackson, a Knick most of his playing career, knows something about the illogic of playing in New York, which has a time-honored reputation for major crime and petty theft.

“I’ve been here a long time,” said Jackson. “That’s all I want to say. It was a great game.”

“You don’t assign anyone (to Tucker),” said Jackson. “We know you can’t get a shot off in a tenth of a second. We were looking for a lob to the basket or a tap.”

As were the Knicks.

“The play was designed to throw into the basket for Patrick,” said Tucker, who has proven a late threat for the Knicks, hitting that four-point play against the Bulls in last season’s playoffs.

“I went along the baseline and kept coming toward Mark,” said Tucker. “When he couldn’t get the ball to Pat, he saw me and I had just enough time to get off a prayer.”

With the buzzer ringing in everyone’s ears, the high, 28-foot, three-pointer hung in the air before settling gently through the net.

“The Lord answered my prayer,” said Tucker.

The Bulls lost for the fourth time this season on an opponent’s shot at the buzzer.

“I guess we’re still paying for that shot M.J. hit against Cleveland in the playoffs last season,” said Scottie Pippen.

One Response to “Remembering The Genesis Of The Trent Tucker Rule”

  1. glenzo says:

    I was at that game, and the moment is seared into my psyche. I’m fairly certain I was the only one in MSG who didn’t erupt into celebration, instead muttering a few select words and quickly filing out.

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