On a night when no Detroit Pistons defender could slow down Jimmy Butler, it was Reggie Jackson who might have provided the defensive play of the night. And all he had to do was chat with Stanley Johnson.
Butler was sitting at the free-throw line after having already sunk two of three shots following a dubious Avery Bradley foul on Butler’s 3-point attempt.
One more and it would have been tied at 98 with seconds left for the Pistons to try and win the game.
Instead, just as the referee was about to toss the ball to Butler for his final attempt, Jackson ran it at the last second to bark some (useless) instructions to Stanley Johnson.
Butler knew what Jackson was doing right away — trying to disrupt his rhythm — and he gave the most hilarious side eye you’ll ever see on a basketball court. Still, the move worked and Butler clanged his final attempt.
omg. Reggie Jackson successfully interrupts the rhythm of Jimmy Butler’s game-tying free throw attempt. Pistons win. pic.twitter.com/hZ5gR6kptD— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) November 20, 2017
Tobias Harris recovered the loose ball and sunk two free throws to put the Pistons up by the final margin of 100-97. Butler almost made a game-tying three at the buzzer but it rimmed out.
The missed free-throw was shocking, particularly coming from Butler, who had been 72-of-76 on clutch free-throws over the past two seasons, according to NBA stats maestro John Schuhmann.
After the game, Jackson and Johnson celebrated their cerebral maneuver and the improbable win.
Reggie & Stanley Johnson (who stepped into lane when Reggie told him to) celebrates a successful, game-winning trolling of Jimmy Butler. pic.twitter.com/Nkv7vRIu8B— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) November 20, 2017
The Pistons had been down by as many as 11 points with 9:57 left to go in the game. From that point on the team shot 11-of-15 from the floor.
Reggie Jackson led the way going 4-of-4 from the field and dishing four assists. Drummond hit 3-of-4 of his shots in that span and Bradley was a cool 3-of-3 including two 3-pointers.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, were held to 33 percent shooting in that span. Butler was clearly not impressed.