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.