The New Orleans Pelicans pulled off the most impressive tanking effort of all time in a 138-136 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Losing a game in which the Pels led by three points with the ball with seven seconds to play is nearly impossible. It’s un-scriptable. It’s art, actually. Were it able to be captured in one still moment, I’d frame it.
I’ll let you watch the meltdown ensue, and then explain what happened along the way.
So, uh, this is how Suns-Pelicans ended in OT. Just stupendous tanking. pic.twitter.com/AWhH8iHVrT— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) March 17, 2019
Pelicans 136, Suns 133: 7.7 seconds to play
The only thing New Orleans has to do here is inbound the ball. The second one of their players would’ve caught it, they’d have been fouled and sent to the free throw line. One made free throw seals the game.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, New Orleans tried to call a timeout that it didn’t have and was instead called for a five-second violation. Suns ball.
Pelicans 136, Suns 133: Still 7.7 seconds to play
Ok, the Pels messed up, but this game is still in the bag. All New Orleans has to do is foul the Suns now to put them at the free throw line. Even if they sink both shots, they’re down a point and the Pels get the ball back.
But they don’t foul, and instead let Josh Jackson launch a three-point shot, which of course, went in.
Pelicans 136, Suns 136: 1.1 seconds to play
Ok, now New Orleans has messed up badly. They at least have a chance to still win, or at the worst, head to overtime.
But nah. This is March! This is tank time!
The Pelicans, a team that 6.6 seconds ago learned that it had no timeouts remaining, tried to call one. They then got hit with a technical foul, which sent Devin Booker to the foul line.
The rest is truly history.
Anything for Zion Williamson.