It’s okay if you did not happen to plan yesterday evening around watching the tanking Memphis Grizzlies visiting the not tanking but nevertheless shitty and irrelevant Charlotte Hornets. I didn’t either, and that’s too bad. Because while I was watching whatever stupid crap instead—Wheel of Fortune! God damn it!—one of the NBA’s ballsiest and most enjoyable shot-makers was having an out-of-body experience.
Oh man, that give-and-feign-going-but-then-warp-back-to-the-arc three-pointer at the 1:23 mark. My face hurts.
His 46 points are tied for only the 11th-highest scoring total a player has put up in a game this season, according to Basketball Reference. It’s still a lot of points, but the noteworthy part is that Walker did this in only 28 minutes of playing time—the shortest shift any player has needed to crest 40 points this season—thanks in large part to that absurd 10-for-14 shooting line from beyond the arc. The 10 threes tie Steph Curry for the most anybody has made in a game in 2017-18.
Walker is known and celebrated in some corners for his gleefully irresponsible shot selection, which is evident even in your average random midseason 19-point performance. But against a deflated and depleted Memphis team, he managed to make 10 damn three-pointers in 28 damn minutes and almost all of them were good, controlled, in-rhythm shots off clean looks. The 10th and final one probably came closest to qualifying as the kind of insane heat-check Kemba likes to pump up even when he’s not particularly hot: Sprinting in transition, he stumbled a bit as he veered left to get away from two defenders, and then just flicked the ball up there after making only a bare-minimum effort at setting his feet first.
That’s a very silly shot. On the other hand, he didn’t have a defender within a mile of him, and the Hornets were up by 43 points at the time. He could have shot it left-handed if he’d wanted. He could have drop-kicked it. It was going in.