It's the question every basketball commentator asks when the defending team is up by three points with little time remaining: "do you foul?" The idea is that you cannot possibly lose, since you're putting the other team at the line and giving them only two free throws, thus taking away their chance to tie the game with a three-pointer. The only possible way for it to bite you is if they intentionally miss a free throw, get the offensive rebound AND score to either tie or win. I'm no math major, but the chances of all those things happening are not high, so by fouling up three your odds of winning increase exponentially.
The Minnesota Timberwolves found themselves in this exact situation on Monday night, leading the Sacramento Kings 119-116 with under 10 seconds remaining. After Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins missed a two-point shot, Kings guard De'Aaron Fox grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by Wiggins. With four second to go and a three-point lead, Wiggins made the smart play, and barring a miracle he essentially locked up a win for the T-Wolves.
This is the part where we inform you that a miracle happened. Fox made the first free throw, cutting the lead to 119-117, then pulled off the improbable by intentionally missing his free throw, grabbing his own rebound and laying it in to tie the game:
This is not only the play of the year, it's the play of the decade and possibly even the century. The odds of a teammate getting the board and tying the game are small, so for Fox to perfectly clank it off the front iron directly to himself is almost impossible. Many have tried, just about all have failed. Somewhere up above, Kobe Bryant is grinning ear to ear watching this high-basketball IQ play over and over again.
Perhaps the craziest part of the play is that the Kings were even in a situation to force overtime. In the first half Minnesota led by as many as 20, and with 7:50 remaining in the third quarter led by 22, their largest lead of the game. From there the Kings went on a 35-13 run, punctuated by Fox's incredible play to force overtime. Sacramento went on to win 133-129 for its second straight road victory.