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The Longest Second of the Season?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually completely missed this.   In fact, while watching the Celtics v.  Cavaliers game from my DVR (I play basketball on Wednesday nights) I actually hit the stop button when Kevin Garnett knocked the ball out of Daniel Gibson‘s hand.  With the whistle blown, 2:29 to go in the fourth, and the knowledge that the Celtics lose the game in my head, it was time for sleep.

In the morning I was surprised to read some interesting quotes about a phantom “second” in the Boston Globe.  Here are Doc Rivers and Ray Allen about this certain “second”:

“That was the longest second in NBA history,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “Somebody didn’t push that button quick enough.’’

Said Ray Allen: “I just assumed the horn was going to go off.’’

After reading these quotes I had to go back to the tape and obviously, I did not have to go far.  If you missed the play like I did and did not have the foresight to DVR the game, here is the play in real time along with the Comcast Replay:

Now for everyone gearing up to cry “excuses!”, please, if you read anything in this post, read the following sentence.  This play, in no way, had an impact on the outcome of the game.

That being said, this play is not without its ramifications– specifically, my faith in instant replay and officials.  When I saw the officials go to the tape to review this shot I would have bet any amount of money that they would have over-turned the call.

I watched the play several times and there is just no way Anthony Parker could have done what he did in one second.  The commonly accepted reality in NBA circles is that 0.7 seconds is the minimum amount of time a player has to get a shot off.  Keep in mind that this means “catch and shoot” but is more accurately depicted as touching the ball and helplessly moving it in the direction of the basket.  In just an extra 0.3 seconds, Anthony Parker had the ability to swing the ball through from left to right to avoid Rajon Rondo, rise up and shoot a normal jumpshot.  Malarkey.

This is a clear case of home court advantage.   Don’t get me wrong, being a timekeeper is not an easy job.  I have worked in Athletic Event Production for years and I feel for anyone who gets put on camera while they are trying to fix the time on the clock.  That said, do you really think the time keeper was worried about starting the clock exactly when it hit Anthony Parker‘s hand?

Because I am a geek, I used my own stop watch to time how long it took Anthony Parker to catch and release this shot.  The average time was 1.7 seconds.  This is by no means an exact science.  What’s troubling is that the officials do not do anything more sophisticated than I did when determining these sorts of things.  In the replay, you can see they go to the tape, watch it and confirm that the shot was legitimate.  I am sure the officials would have been a lot more comfortable if they had the NFL’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card”.  You know, the “there is not enough evidence to overturn the call” rule that totally screwed the Miami Dolphins last week when they recovered a game-saving fumble in the end zone.

The difference here is this call had no bearing on the outcome of the game.  The Dolphins blown call cost them the game.  This one did not matter, but that does not make it right.

  • Ttt

    how does the call not matter?? celtics would have had the chance to tie on the next possession, and the final minutes would have been a lot tighter instead of the celtics having to play catchup.

  • lakershater13

    I agree this did not determine the outcome but it had a huge impact on it. A 5 point game is a huge difference than a 2 point game with 2 mins to go. Yes the execution was terrible by the Celtics down the stretch but being down by 2 would have changed a lot. The Celtics really used the bench late in games in preseason. When they have back to backs they need to just milk the bench. Let the bench win or lose the game, Erden even though he needs a lot of work probably would have looked ok out there with fresh legs next to big baby(who is playing great). That game made it clear that I think they made the wromg choice. Wafer has done nothing out there. We could have really used Lasme to hustle, rebound, and play defense. If we are going to lose games to teams like the Cavs I would rather see us trying to strengthen out bench rather than try to over play our senior citizens. Celtics will beat the Knicks tonight.

  • W2.

    Uncle Mo had swung already, but that was the dagger.

  • If you watch a game clock tick down under a minute, it goes from, say, 2.0 seconds to 1.9 seconds. If the shotclock works the same way, then a shotclock showing "1" could actually indicate as much as 1.9 seconds remaining.

    • Very true. This could have happened and my crude way of measuring how long it took Anthony Parker to get the shot off (roughly 1.7 seconds) falls within that range. Still though, to me it seems just as likely as the Big Bang. The timekeeper stops the clock as soon as the refs whistle blows. Usually when the timing is this close, the buzzer goes off and the officials direct the timekeeper to put time back on that clock.

      In order to get an accurate (as accurate as you can get I suppose) is to start a stopwatch with two decimal places as soon as the ball is inbounded at the start of the possession and stop it when the whistle blows. I'm a geek but I'm not that much of a geek.

      • Okay. I am that much of a geek. I consistently got around 22.3.

  • WestCoastCeltic

    .9 secs remaining, right? It wouldn't tick upward from 1 to 1.9….it would tick down from 1 to .9

  • pilgrimtraveller

    Brendan, You are contradicting yourself. If you are to maintain intellectual consistency, you cannot claim that "This play, in no way, had an impact on the outcome of the game" while also claiming "That being said, this play is not without its ramifications . . ." If the play had "ramifications," then, by definition, it had "an impact on the outcome of the game." Did you mean to claim that the play was not the sole cause of the Celtics' loss? You would have been consistent in claiming that even though the play had ramifications, it didn't by itself cause the Celtics' loss. Of course, the play wasn't by itself the cause of the loss. There is never merely one cause of a loss. No matter how terrible and one-sided officiating may be, it is never "the cause" of a loss, but it may be a disturbingly large cause among other causes. And so it was in this game, in which the Celtics played poorly, and the officials officiated poorly, and the Cavs played over their heads (or so it seems now) while being given the benefit of very dubious calls down the stretch. The technical fouls on Nate & Shaq were very shaky indeed. The bad timekeeping and the shaky technical fouls account for 5 points in what was an 8 point game.

    • The "ramifications" refers to my trust in instant replay and officiating, not the game. No contradiction.

  • I_Love_Green

    Apparantly West and Wafer got into it again at practice today and punches were thrown!
    (Quoted from Reds Army)

    After another intense three-on-three game in practice today, Delonte West and Von Wafer got into a fist fight in the locker room.

    Punches were thrown and the players had to be separated. The Celtics are considering releasing West, who is on a non-guaranteed contract.

    Sources say that Wafer tried to walk away but West followed him into the locker room and threw the first punch. Doc and vets aren't happy

  • I_Love_Green

    Here's more again from Reds Army….

    After Wafer had showered and sat down at his locker, West approached from behind and threw a punch. Wafer didn't see the punch coming but quickly got off of the ground and connected on two punches of his own. He then wrestled West to the ground before being separated by the team's veterans.

    West has gotten into skirmishes with multiple teammates this season and his confrontational ways have grown old very quickly in the locker room. He is currently serving a ten-game suspension after pleading guilty to weapons charges in July.

    West has gotten into fights with other teamates??? What the hell!! All we heard was good things about this guy all camp, now he's starting fist fights and fighting other teammates.

    • Morpheus

      I never heard about Delonte fighting with other teammates.Only that other incident with Wafer last week was it.What the hell,release this guy NOW!!! We can't have a guy fighting his own team.As much as i would've enjoyed Delonte back in a Celtics jersey this season,there's no way in hell i would give him the light of day to even walk into The Garden after this malarkey.

  • Morpheus

    Another missed call from the refs that night.The 1st instance being the missed call on that Baby 3 to end the 2nd quarter.