Jrue Holiday is among the best defensive players in all of basketball. He is a two-time All-Defensive Team selection, and as such, has made a living out of keeping opponents from putting the ball in his basket. So committed is he to that task that in Thursday’s marquee showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers, it seemingly led him to accidentally putting the ball in the basket itself.
The play came in the second quarter. After a missed jumper by Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James fired a full-court pass to Anthony Davis right at the basket. Holiday, in a desperate attempt to prevent Davis from scoring an easy dunk, jumped into the air to try to knock the pass away. He did so. The ball didn’t go to Davis. It went into Milwaukee’s basket, seemingly giving Holiday an ‘own goal’ — as its called on the soccer field.
The basket was officially credited to Davis, but upon review, it seems pretty clear that Holiday was technically the one to knock it into the hoop. This is standard NBA procedure. When a defensive player knocks the ball into the hoop, the basket is credited to the closest offensive player. Statistically speaking, there are no ‘own goals’ in NBA history.
But they do happen from time to time. It’s a somewhat demoralizing experience. The Bucks, coming off of a nationally televised loss to the Brooklyn Nets, led most of the first half against the Lakers. This basket helped the Lakers retake the lead at halftime. Given Milwaukee’s spotty history against contenders, a win means about as much for them as one can in a regular-season setting, but getting one against the Lakers is hard enough under normal circumstances. Doing so while giving away points like this is almost impossible.