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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tyreke Evans' game-winning non-steal

By Henry Abbott

(I recently learned how to embed highlights on TrueHoop, and I'm going crazy with it!)


Good for Tyreke Evans! The clutch steal is right up there near the top of the list in terms of my favorite basketball plays, and he got a great one.

He's rewarded for his efforts with this headline on ESPN.com: "Evans has 26, big steal to lift Kings past Wizards." And this line in the Associated Press story: "Evans scored 26 points and came up with a steal and two clutch free throws in the closing seconds for the Kings, who held on for a 112-109 victory over the struggling Washington Wizards on Wednesday night."

The only thing he didn't get out of the deal, as TrueHoop reader Ben points out in an e-mail, is actual credit for a steal.

Check out the boxscore. He finished the game with zero steals.

I think I understand why. He poked the ball free and then was fouled before his team possessed the ball. A steal is a change of possession. This was a loose ball that in theory anyone could have snagged, and then he happened to get fouled.

I understand why that steal isn't in the boxscore as it is. But I'm also sure that boxscore, as it is, isn't telling us anything about the most important play of the game.

UPDATE: David Thorpe makes an interesting basketball point about that play: "You can't crossover against a long guy. You might be able to cross a long guy who's lazy, but a player as long as Tyreke who is active and trying to get the ball ... it's just not a good play. I tell my players, against a long player like that, you have to go inside-out, hesitate and go, or something else. But not crossover -- too often they can just reach in there and take it."

UPDATE: And here you can see in still images exactly how that length works.