On a night when the return of Kobe Bryant was the really big news, a fouled-up free-throw situation offered one of the most oddly memorable highlights.
It was the waning minutes of the first quarter at the Staples Center Sunday night. With Bryant resting on the bench, the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas ran a simple pick-and-roll. Lowry got fouled, and the game went to a timeout.
Returning, the referee pointed for Valanciunas to go to the charity stripe. Players looked at each other and murmured. Lowry started asking the refs—what’s going on?
“Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please…the wrong player shot the free throws for the Toronto Raptors”. The NBA!— bandwagonknick (@bandwagonknick) December 9, 2013
Valanciunas made both, and the officials called for another pause in the action. More time passed with three referees huddling around the monitor and courtside gawkers still stuck wondering when Bryant was going to come back and make his first bucket.
Action resumed, and Lowry got to go the line. He made the free throws that he should have made in the first place and life went on at Staples Center. Needless to say, Jonas' first two didn't count.
In all fairness, Jonas Valanciunas & Kyle Lowry look pretty damn similar— 3030 (@jose3030) December 9, 2013
Just your average Sunday in the NBA.