Referee Courtney Kirkland seems to have more hops than most NBA players, and Kris Humphries found that out the hard way on Wednesday night. Courtney ran full speed in from the baseline and displayed some aerial prowess while trying to reject Humphries free throw attempt during the fourth quarter of the Nets’ Wednesday night matchup with the Toronto Raptors. Kirkland was successful because Humphries didn’t have a chance to get his shot off.
Why would Kirkland do such a thing? Boredom? To show off his jumping ability? Was he auditioning for a spot on the Nets roster?
Ball Don’t Lie explains the situation:
According to Nets blogger Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game, substitutes were about to check into the game following Humphries’ first free throw, which gave the Nets an 81-68 lead with 7:41 left in the fourth quarter, and Kirkland wanted Humphries to hold off on firing until everybody was on the court and settled in their proper positions; the horn-triggered between-shots substitution period is a stoppage in play, and the refs had to officially call “game on” before Hump could continue. (This, of course, makes sense; without this rule, if Humphries had missed the second free throw, it could result in, say, the Raptors grabbing the rebound and hustling a lead pass off to just-checked-in guard Jose Calderon, who’d have a breakaway after essentially streaking out of the penalty box. Which could be neat, but also sounds chaotic and kind of cheap. Who needs more cherry picking?)