Luke Ridnour's Sealy-esque moment propels T-Wolves to .500 at the All-Star break [VIDEO]
An unlikely hero: Last night, Ridnour's buzzer-beating floater was the difference in a win over Utah.
It was a scene reminiscent of the late Malik Sealy's defining NBA moment: a banked-in 3-pointer lifting the Wolves to a stunning last-second, one-point victory over Indiana at the Target Center back in December 1999.
Last night, with a .500 record on the line, Luke Ridnour's picture-perfect floater swished through the net at the horn, pushing the Wolves to a come-from-behind, two-point victory over Western Conference rival Utah. The win sends the T-Wolves into the All-Star break on the most positive of notes.
During his one-and-a-half year tenure with Minnesota, Ridnour has played the role of steady, unspectacular veteran. He isn't known for late-game heroics -- in fact, during Monday night's loss in Denver, Ridnour botched a seemingly easy and potentially game-tying layup. He oftentimes isn't even on the floor during the final seconds of games.
But last night, with Ricky Rubio surprisingly sitting on the bench and only seven seconds remaining in the game, coach Rick Adelman opted to pair Ridnour with J.J. Barea in the backcourt for the Wolves' last possession. The T-Wolves trailed by 15 points with less than eight minutes left, but rallied to tie the game behind clutch play from Barea and rookie forward Derrick Williams.
The ball was inbounded to Barea for a pick-and-roll play with Williams, but he was quickly double-teamed by Utah defenders and had little choice but to pass the ball to Ridnour. With the clock winding down, Ridnour put the ball and floor and went to work.
Like the Sealy shot, what happened next will be a part of Wolves lore for years. Ridnour dribbled into the lane toward former T-Wolf Big Al Jefferson, who barely got off the ground as Ridnour's shot floated over his head (T-Wolves observers always knew Big Al was a defensive liability). As the buzzer sounded, Ridnour's floater went down, propelling the Wolves to their first All Star-break .500 record since 2005. They're now only one game behind 8th-place Portland in the Western Conference standings.
What a perfect way to ring in All-Star weekend and put a bow on a resurgent first half of the season for our long-beleaguered NBA squad. Here's video of one of the most exciting game-winning shots in Target Center history:
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