How many highlight rebounds can you remember? It's a rare occurrence, especially without a putback dunk to follow. Rebounds are rarely glamorous like dunks or creative like passes. They're just the result of a player being in the right position at the right time and executing a fundamental skill. Well, that's the case most of the time. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got a bit more innovative in Friday's game against the Indiana Pacers.
The sequence began with Gilgeous-Alexander doing what he does best: scoring on a contested layup. In the process, he lost his right shoe. However, the game was still in progress, so he didn't have time to put it back on. So Gilgeous-Alexander did what any desperate player would've done: he grabbed the shoe with his right hand and ran back on defense. By the time he made it back up the court, Indiana guard Jordan Nwora had hoisted up a 3-pointer. It clanked off the rim and right into the open left hand of Gilgeous-Alexander, who was still holding his shoe with his right hand.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander loses a shoe on a layup, grabs it, runs back on defense, and then pulls in the rebound with the shoe in his other hand. pic.twitter.com/suFbyhvBj3— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) April 1, 2023
After the rebound, Gilgeous-Alexander passed the ball ahead to teammate Lu Dort. Eventually the ball found its way to Isaiah Joe, who got fouled on the possession. The Thunder ultimately walked away with a point.
It's a lesson in effort. Gilgeous-Alexander could have given the Pacers an easy 4 on 5 while he put his shoe back on. Instead, he tried to play on. The result was a rebound that would have gone the other way without his presence, and an extra point in a close game for his Thunder.