Thomas Bryant had never made a game winning shot before.
Not at Indiana. Not at Huntington Prep. Not at Bishop Kearney.
Technically, he still hasn’t even if the NBA record books will always say he has.
Bryant drew a goaltending call with 0.4 seconds left to give the Wizards a 101-100 win over the Knicks in London Thursday. It was the NBA’s annual game in England.
Noah Vonleh had given the Knicks a 100-99 lead making a short hook shot over Bryant with 3.3 seconds to play.
The Wizards inbounded to Bradley Beal, who found Bryant cutting to the basket. Alonzo Trier blocked Bryant’s scoop shot, but the block happened above the cylinder and just after the shot started descending.
The refs quickly and emphatically called goaltending right away and video review easily confirmed the call.
Bryant finished the game with ten points and nine rebounds. Six of the points came in the first six minutes of the first quarter.
The last two were the ones that mattered most.
Bryant has scored in double digits in 11 of the last 14 games. More important, he has emotionally fueled Washington’s turnaround.
“When coach threw him into the starting lineup, it gave everybody a lift,” Beal said. “I tell him every game, ‘what you do when you yell (on) all those rebounds, it could be the simplest rebound… that gets me going. That gets everybody going. Slapping the ball, all of that. He bring a tremendous amount of energy to the team that we need.”
The Wizards have won six of nine since a 13-23 start, including victories over NBA powers like Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
There’s every reason to believe Bryant will have a chance at game winner number two sometime in the near future. And maybe this one will actually go through the basket.