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Los Angeles • In 10.2 seconds, Jeremy Evans became an Internet sensation.
Evans boarded a plane from Los Angeles back to Salt Lake City late Wednesday as the proud owner of a string of plays that seemed sure to earn him a return slot on SportsCenter's nightly Top 10. By early Thursday, video of Evans' block-dunk-deflection had gone viral, earning praise from all corners of the sports world as one of the best sequences ever by an NBA player.
If you missed it, it can be broken down into three distinct parts: 1) As Clippers' forward Ronny Turiaf rose for an elbow jumper with 5:24 left in the Jazz's 96-94 loss, Evans leapt from three paces away to spike the shot back down; 2) Evans chased the ball, picked it up beyond midcourt and, jumping from one step beyond the free-throw line, punctuated his defensive play with a stiletto dunk over Turiaf; 3) Evans nearly fell down from his own momentum, but made the turn and kept running back down the court, deflecting a full-court pass from Chris Paul intended for DeAndre Jordan.
The whole thing took 10.2 seconds.
"You still got to get back on defense," Evans said. "In a timeout, you can celebrate a little bit."
Evans, who averaged 7.5 minutes per game last season, said he hopes hustle plays like that will earn him more time on the court. Too bad bloggers don't manage his minutes.
Deadspin called it "as great a basketball sequence you'll see all year," while Ben Detrick, a writer for ESPN's Grantland, wrote a post headlined, "We're not sure if what Jeremy Evans did to Ronny Turiaf is legal."
The top two video hits on YouTube had a combined 275,000 page views by late evening.
In a practical sense for the Jazz, the play was emblematic of the team's increased emphasis of pushing the ball and getting back on defense.
"That's what we need, effort," Paul Millsap said. "Blocked the shot, got it on the other end, dunked the ball, got back in transition, almost got a steal. We're going to need that effort throughout the season."
Jazz waive two
The Jazz reduced their preseason roster by two Thursday when they waived camp invitees Brian Butch and Trey Gilder.
Butch, a power forward from Wisconsin, did not score in two appearances with the Jazz, while Gilder, in his second camp with the Jazz, scored two points in two games.
L.A. Clippers at Utah