If you thought that with Kobe Bryant out injured and Dirk Nowitzki not being his former self, there would be a dearth of clutch plays in the NBA, you thought wrong. Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving’s emergence as the game’s elite closers is no secret to anyone, but on Thursday night, the fans found an unlikely hero in the form of the Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague.
The 6’2 point guard out of Indiana raised his production in each of his previous four seasons and is also posting career averages in both points and assists. So we knew that he likes to improve his game, but now he has started adding new weapons to his repertoire as well. In the Hawks’ Boxing Day clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Teague successfully made not one but TWO crunch time plays to get his side the W.
The first one came with just 4.2 seconds left on the clock in 1st Overtime. Collecting an inbound pass, he went up straightaway from way downtown to nail the triple that helped his team tie up the game and force another five minutes. But clearly saving his team from defeat wasn’t enough. Matched against a far bigger defender in 2nd OT, the 25-year-old Teague again rose to the occasion. He undid his man with some fancy footwork, then stepped back to nail what would be the game-winning buzzer-beater.
He did miss two more opportunities to close the game, but let’s not ruin this moment with unnecessary mentions of that. Check out the video clip of Teague’s cool play above.