The heart-pounding suspense of NBA games was on full display Tuesday night when the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a 20-point deficit to shock the Phoenix Suns in a last-second 115-114 triumph. In the middle of the action was Keldon Johnson, whose crucial steal and basket in the dying moments sealed the win for the Spurs.
As the clock dwindled, the Spurs' chance of a comeback seemed to diminish, especially after Victor Wembanyama's putback dunk only reduced the Suns' lead to a single point. However, as Phoenix's Josh Okogie passed to Kevin Durant, Johnson made an audacious play, intercepting the ball and managing a last-second layup that gave the Spurs the lead.
Durant failed to convert on the Suns' subsequent possession, allowing the Spurs to celebrate a thrilling victory. Johnson later recounted his thought process, saying, "I seen Tre had him in the corner, and I was just like, s---, let's make a play." His sheer determination and risk-taking exemplified the spirit of a Spurs team that refused to back down.
However, Suns' coach Frank Vogel had a different perspective on the crucial play, pointing to a missed foul that should've been called. Vogel's intention was for Okogie to pass safely to Durant, a reliable 90% free throw shooter, to cement the game.
Durant, although disappointed, acknowledged, "I am trying to make the play, but it happened so fast. I should have held on to it."
Spurs' Spirited Rally
While Johnson's heroics caught the limelight, several Spurs players stepped up during the match.
The trio of Wembanyama, Johnson, and Devin Vassell added a combined 25 points in the decisive fourth quarter. Reflecting on the comeback, especially after a 40-point loss to the LA Clippers in their previous match, Vassell highlighted the team's resilience: "It kind of just shows how much we fought the whole game.
It wasn't pretty; obviously, we were down 20 at some point, and we're a young group. But we're fighting, and we're hungry." Vassell also heaped praise on Johnson, who was the game's top scorer with 27 points. "Keldon Johnson, he's a beast, and he really got us going in the second half," Vassell lauded.
The evening truly showcased the unpredictability of basketball, as the Suns, who led comfortably with a 76-56 margin in the third quarter, were ultimately denied by a resilient Spurs squad that simply refused to give up.