The first weekend of the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament was, by all accounts, a dud.
There were no late-game heroics, no particularly major upsets—the only team in the Sweet 16 seeded lower than fifth is Oregon and the only two teams not from power conferences are 3-seed Houston and 1-seed Gonzaga in their respective regions— and just generally nothing that usually makes the first weekend of the college tournament so much fun.
So as the old saying goes, “never send a boy to do a man’s job,” and that means leaving the buzzer-beating late-game heroics to the professionals.
Enter Jeremy Lamb, whose three-pointer at the buzzer sealed the Charlotte Hornets’ 115-114 win over the Toronto Raptors Sunday night.
JEREMY LAMB HALF COURT BANK FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/mYJyYg9l1F
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 25, 2019
Lamb was Charlotte’s last hope after Kemba Walker choked in the clutch, his would-be game-tying shot with 32 seconds left stuffed by Raptors star Kawhi Leonard.
Walker, in fact, had zero points (on 0-of-2 shooting) and a turnover in the last five minutes, disappearing entirely for his team.
This isn’t the first time Lamb has had to bail his teammate out; when Walker dribbled into traffic while trying to play hero ball against the Pistons in December, Lamb got to the spot and nailed the game-winner.
Even Walker couldn’t believe his own eyes, as he seemed all but resigned to a loss at the bottom of the screen in the below video.
Kemba had NO faith in Jeremy Lamb hitting that. 😂
— theScore (@theScore) March 25, 2019
The Hornets are now 34-39 after a wild weekend that featured an 18-point comeback win over the Celtics and the win over the Raptors on back-to-back nights.
On the one hand, this puts them just two games out of the eighth spot in the East, where Miami, at 36-37, holds the right to get smashed by the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round.
On the other hand, this is a Hornets team that has one of the worst clutch players of all-time, a team that is seemingly as likely to post their third straight 36-46 season as as they are to make the playoffs, and a squad whose final nine games include six on the road, five against playoff teams and a sixth against a team, the Orlando Magic, currently ahead of them in the standings.
Oh, and two of those games against non-playoff teams involve road games at the Lakers and Pelicans, who can get big games on any given night out of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
And, of course, there’s the problem of even if they do make the playoffs, the Bucks will eat their lunch; at least the lottery gives them a crack at Zion Williamson.
But if Jeremy Lamb keeps coming up huge with the game on the line, we may very well see Charlotte in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
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