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The Eyes Don't Have It

Apparently NBA rules regarding replay don’t factor in common sense. At the end of the first half against the Heat, Matt Harpring put up a shot just before time ran out. But as the shot was rattling in the rim, Andrei Kirilenko clearly tapped the ball, which should have been called offensive goaltending and disallowed the basket.

None of the referees saw the violation, but the play went to replay anyway, as all buzzer-beating shots do in the NBA.

The referees went to the replay, but ruled the basket good anyway because Harpring got the shot off before the buzzer.

Now, the referees saw the offensive goaltending violation on the replay, but their interpretation of the NBA rule is that you cannot review whether or not a player committed an originally unnoticed violation, only whether or not the final shot was released before the clock expired.

That’s all well and good, but here’s where I have a problem with this ruling. If the officials see Kirilenko hit the ball, regardless of where the ball is at the time, doesn’t his contact with the ball become the final shot attempt? And because the replay showed that the attempt clearly came after the buzzer, shouldn’t the basket be waved off? What if it wasn't a goaltending violation, just a legal tip-in that went unnoticed by the referees? Would that have been considered the final shot attempt? I think so.

It might be something the league should look into. I asked lead referee Jimmy Clark about it just before the start of the third quarter, and he said, “All we can review is whether the shot was released before the buzzer.”

And I asked, “Shouldn’t the Kirilenko tip be considered the final shot, though?” He gave a look like, “That’s something to think about,” but shrugged it off and walked away.

It’s not Jimmy’s fault they got the call wrong. The rule is the problem, and it should be altered.

On an aside, and this has nothing to do with the Heat – unless you consider that the Heat has two former Gators that follow the basketball team closely in Jason Williams and Udonis Haslem – but are the Gators the least known No. 2 team in recent NCAA history? I just watched a Sportscenter highlight where the anchor badly mispronounced the names of Taurean Green and Joakim Noah and then called UF’s reserve center Chris Richards. There’s no ‘s’ at the end of his name. Yet everyone on TV knows how to pronounce the name of Duke’s Lee Melchionni.




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