The Replay Watched ‘Round the World

With 11.3 seconds left on the clock in Game 5 of OKC Thunder vs. the LA Clippers, Matt Barnes hit Reggie Jackson’s left hand and the ball somehow went out of bounds. Since it was within two minutes of the end of regulation, the play was reviewed by the referees. And so began The Replay Watched 'Round the World.

After a couple replays, it was clear that the ball was last touched by Reggie Jackson. Yet somehow the refs finished watching the replay and affirmed the call on the floor, which was that it was Oklahoma City’s ball. The picture engrained in everybody’s mind was Doc Rivers outraged and yelling “that was our ball!” at the official. It appeared that the refs might have been trying to make up for the fact that Jackson was probably fouled on the play.

And so erupted Twitter-land...

And my own reaction…

The play smelled of a similar play that the Clippers were involved in vs. the Golden State Warriors in Round 1. Chris Paul was fouled by Draymond Green but the ball went out of bounds off Paul. No foul was called on the floor, although it was given to the Clippers. On replay, it was clear the ball was last touched by Paul, so the refs rightfully (under current rules) gave the ball to Golden State.

But someone from the confines of TNT found this heralded rule No. 8 from Section 11 of the NBA. It says that “if a player has his hand in contact with the ball and an opponent hits the hand causing the ball to go out-of-bounds, the team whose player had his hand on the ball retains possession.” (Side note: I still haven’t managed to find a link to this rule even though it’s been all over TV and every website.)

With that in mind, here is the Replay Watched Round the World:

At this point, I was initially in agreement with Ernie Johnson, who said after the game on Inside the NBA that Barnes hit Jackson’s left hand but the ball was still in Jackson’s right hand before it sailed out of bounds.

Then after a night’s sleep to mull over one of the most controversial plays in recent memory (or all-time, if we go by BS's tweet), I re-watched that play after hearing some people say it came out of both hands. And sure enough, when you look at both angles, the ball should be awarded to the Thunder. Yes, Barnes didn’t change the direction that the ball was moving. What he did was stop Jackson’s forward progress and thus Jackson released the ball. The momentum and direction of the ball is a continuation of where Jackson was going, and you can see that it left both hands after being hit by Barnes.

Sorry, Doc, you’re wrong. And while you think that was a series defining call, don’t forget Game 3 in the first round where Paul’s foul of Curry on the final shot of the game went uncalled. THAT was a series defining call and undoubtedly the incorrect call.

As the Clippers leader admitted after the game, there’s no weaseling out of one of the worst choking moments in NBA history. This one was brought to you by Cliff Paul who was born to assist…the other team.

And finally closing the matter, I’m glad that the NBA didn’t cave in to Doc Rivers. Just today, they released a statement saying that the referees made the correct call.
If anything, it is fair to say that there is inconclusive evidence. Did it come off both hands? Or was it in the right for a millisecond longer? While I am personally 99% certain that it came out of both hands, there is still that 1% room for error. And in that case, it is fair to say that there is insufficient evidence to overturn the call on the floor.

Although it is pure luck that the refs made the right call, the fact is that they did.

Now can we talk about how insane it was that Jackson didn’t give up the ball on a 3-on-1 fastbreak??

1 comment:

  1. i would love a trade with the wolves. i be willing to part with dlee, klay, or barnes. if the wolves want klay if i were the warriors i would find a way to get the wolves to add kevin martin in the mix so we have a sg. but if the wolves just want dlee and barnes get on it warriors.


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