Austin Reaves nearly had one of his highlights of the season on Wednesday against the Spurs. With just over a second remaining in the third quarter, Reaves took the in-bounds, turned upcourt and heaved a shot from 60 feet that found the bottom of the net.
Because the NBA doesn’t like fun — or because the ball was still in his hand as the clock hit zero — the shot was ruled out. But the highlight will live on.
Austin Reaves hit this from waaaaaay out, but it didn't count because the ball was still on his fingers at the buzzerpic.twitter.com/abbbMrd6hA— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) December 14, 2023
This wasn’t one of those heaves where the player intentionally holds the ball just after the buzzer before hoisting. No, Austin Reaves is really about that heave life.
“I knew it was close,” Reaves said in his walk-off interview on Spectrum SportsNet postgame. “I knew there was like 1.2, 1.4 (seconds left) so I could get a dribble off. I thought I might have got it off but obviously not. That’s the second time this year. But you continue to heave those because it could change the game.”
As Reaves noted, this isn’t even the first time he’s narrowly missed an incredible end-of-quarter heave. Against the Mavericks at home earlier this year, Reaves chased down a loose ball and threw up a half-court shot as he was drifting out of bounds that banked in.
Again, though, because the NBA just can’t help itself by following the rules at all times, Reaves shot was waved off after replay review.
Austin Reaves drains a WILD half court heave but was just a little late at the buzzer— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) November 23, 2023
Mavs up 62-46 against the Lakers heading into the 3rd quarter.pic.twitter.com/oleBGJ4pcl
Reaves’ highlight reel of heaves isn’t just near-makes. Memorably, his shot in Game 6 against the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs very much did count and was very much a highlight of that postseason run.
Avoiding the heave has become a pandemic in the NBA with players worried about their field goal percentage on those handful of heaves they may take each season. Reaves has never shied away from hoisting up those shots and was rewarded handsomely this offseason with a huge contract. And yes, I am wildly conflating those two things.
If the basketball gods were just, then Reaves would be due some good fortune in the future for his willingness to play the game the right way and #AlwaysHeave.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.