With 9.3 seconds remaining in the game and down by just one point, the San Antonio Spurs used their final timeout to set up a potential game-winning shot on Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena against the Utah Jazz.
And with stars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the court, the Spurs had plenty of options.
But it was Matt Bonner who took a driving shot that went in-and-out with two seconds left.
Utah's Mehmet Okur was fouled on the rebound and a couple of Okur free throws on the other end of the court finished off the 104-101 win for the Jazz. It also was San Antonio's third consecutive loss overall and third loss to the Jazz this season in three tries.
"When it left my hand it felt good," said Bonner of his almost buzzer beater. "It looked like it was down and then popped out. It was a tough miss."
It was a rare miss on the night for Bonner, a fifth-year reserve forward/center out of Florida. He burned the Jazz for a career-high 28 points, making 10 of 14 from the field including four three- pointers.
"(Bonner) comes out every night and gives everything he has," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. "He's just a hard-working, blue collar kind of guy. He knows what his skills are and he uses them to his advantage."
Despite it being Bonner's career best offensive game, the plan wasn't to have him take the potential game-winning shot.
"It wasn't drawn up for him, but he did the best job he could under the circumstances," Popovich said.
Bonner found himself with the ball well above the 3-point arc with the final seconds ticking off the clock and the Spurs trailing 102-101. He drove the ball around the defense of Carlos Boozer and got a decent shot off.
"The last play, obviously, wasn't to isolate me at half court," said Bonner. "They did a good job on defense to take away our first and second options and I just tried to make a play."
"Matt had a big game, a great game," said Parker. "He made some big shots for us in the second half. And he had a great shot, too, at the end that almost went in."
The loss drops San Antonio, a perennial NBA title contender, to .500 on the year at 9-9.
Afterward Duncan was blaming himself.
"Just too many mistakes, especially on my part towards the end," said Duncan, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. "Carlos (Boozer) had two or three baskets at the end, and I kind of strung Matt (Bonner) out on that last play. Just a bad decision on my part."
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