NBA

Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Thomas.

Watch: Tiny guards Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Thomas square off in jump ball

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One of the subplots of this season has been the rise of the little man.

Boston's Isaiah Thomas has grown his game from sparkplug scorer to bonafide star, making his second All-Star Game last month and entering the MVP conversation.

Speaking of that MVP conversation, it's revolved pretty much around guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden, as the game has evolved into a place where 3-point shooting and guard penetration are among the most important qualities.

Plus, with the season-ending injury to Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, the Rookie of the Year race is pretty much anyone's guess.

Why can't a guy like Phoenix's Tyler Ulis, who is getting more minutes and posting better numbers since the All-Star break, rise up and take the trophy?

Ulis had his first signature moment of the season on Sunday when his buzzer-beater lifted the Suns past Thomas and the Celtics, capping off an improbable stretch of five Phoenix points in the game's closing seconds.

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns

Well, if there was ever a moment to highlight the rising of the little man, Sunday's game in Phoenix also had that between Thomas and Ulis.

Midway through the second quarter, with Boston leading by five points, Ulis hit the deck for a loose ball. Thomas wisely jumped on his opponent, getting the easy tie-up, resulting in what would be probably the most memorable jump ball of the season.

Thomas and many of the Phoenix players laughed as they realized what was about to happen.

Here's the showdown:

As you can see, Thomas got up quicker and won the exchange with relative ease, tipping the ball to teammate Jae Crowder.

But isn't it nice to see the little guys going for it? Wouldn't a 6-foot-and-under jump ball tournament liven up All-Star weekend a little bit?

Thomas, by the way, is tied with Calvin Murphy as the shortest All-Stars in history at 5-foot-9. Murphy is the only player under 5-foot-10 to be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame (Allen Iverson is listed very generously at 6-feet tall.)

BIG3 Press Conference

Along with Cleveland rookie Kay Felder, Ulis and Thomas are tied for the shortest current players in the league.

While Ulis will be sitting out the playoffs in his rookie season, it's possible that Felder -- and probable that Thomas -- will be seeing some big moments this postseason.

May the best man -- and not the biggest man -- win.

Topics:
Allen Iverson
Phoenix Suns
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Philadelphia Sixers
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Isaiah Thomas
Jae Crowder

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