It's Not Lame, It's The Ten Days Of Christmas. On The 9th Day Of Christmas, The Utah Jazz Gave To Me...

...Sundiata Gaines

Or more specifically, the shot that killed King James and the Cavs.

It in a made for Disney story, Sundiata Gaines hits the biggest shot of his life just days after he was busing it around the D-League for the Idaho Stampede. His game-winning three was the culmination of an amazing comeback in that game for the Jazz.

I broke down the last 6 minutes of that game here. You'll remember that the Jazz were actually up 10 point with over five minutes to go before LeBron went medieval on the team. The Jazz were down 6 with 30 second left. Everything fell the right way for Utah that night. There were missed free-throws by Cleveland, a HORSE-type shot by Korver, and clutch free-throws by Millsap.

Even more incredible was that the Jazz were without Deron (injured), AK (injured), and Boozer (fouled out) to end the game. Gaines never gets this shot in the first place if Deron doesn't go down.

After Big Z misses 1 of two, the Jazz are down 96-94 and the stage is set:

Gaines game-winning shot to beat the Cavs (via NBA)

It was a shot that I termed Jughead due to the LOST-type consequences it had on the season. In LOST, the nuclear explosion created an alternate timeline. It seemed to have the same effect on the Jazz as well. The team was 21-17 at that point and there seemed to be chemistry issues.

That shot though galvanized the team. There was no bigger bonding moment that to see Carlos Boozer run out onto the floor to join the jubilation while trying to keep his shorts up. Jerry Sloan hadn't been that overjoyed on a basketball court since the original shot in 1997. Gaines was mugged by his teammates and proceeded to pound his chest on top of the scorers table (after which he was given ten lashes by Sloan the next day).

The Jazz would go on to win 14 of their next 16 games and overall you could tell this was a different team. Some things happen for a reason. Gaines was in the right place at the right time and made the most of his call-up.

It doesn't get any more fairy tale than that.

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