You don’t have to be able to jump to play professional basketball. Big Al Jefferson proved that all season, and he especially proved it Saturday in the first quarter of game three of the Charlotte-Miami series.
Big Al has not been a high flier since he became a Bobcat this season. He’s 6-10 and weighs 289 pounds. Gravity, you know?
He also has had plantar fasciitis since game one of the series, which offers a painful reminder every time he takes a step.
Big Al might lope down court. He might jog. But once he arrives, he’s something. The moves he offers are so polished and so effective and so good. It’s as if Big Al is on a crusade to demonstrate that post players with old school games still matter, and you can run your offense through them.
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Those moves mattered in the first quarter at Time Warner Cable Arena. In the last one minute and 41 seconds Jefferson: hit a lay-up; hit a 9-foot jump shot, drew a foul and hit a free throw; hit an 18-foot jump shot; hit a lay-up.
Miami is not equipped to stop him. Chris Anderson, 6-10, tried. But Big Al spun and pumped and scored as if Anderson wasn’t there.
Big Al finished the first quarter with 15 points, going 7 of 9 from the field.
And he scored them all without leaping.
If you measured his first-quarter vertical jump, he might not have cleared a book, and I’m talking paperback, and I’m talking paperback flat on the court.
That’s not criticism, that’s praise.
You find what works, and you make it yours. Big Al made it work against some of the best players in basketball, and perhaps the sport’s best team.