With Miami down one to the Clippers 86-85 and a chance to win the game with just nine seconds left, LeBron James started a drive at the top of the key, got into the lane, drew three defenders, pivoted, shot and was fouled. He hit one free throw, tied the game and it was off to overtime.
Except the referees missed the call — LeBron traveled before he was fouled. Our own Rob Mahoney pointed it out first at Hardwood Paroxysm.
This was the play after Dwyane Wade made a fantastic save of a ball going out of bounds, throwing it off D’Andre Jordan. The Heat threw the ball into Wade with 14 seconds and he dribbled to the wing then threw the ball to LeBron at the top of the key, who drove aggressively into the lane.
He tried to do what Dwyane Wade had done earlier this season — something Mahoney and many others (myself included) had thought at the time was traveling, but the league announced that he did not. Wade completed a jump stop then made a pivot off of that, something the league said was legal.
Mahoney explains where James went wrong Wednesday.
However, there are two flaws in James’ execution. The first: he attempt to execute a jump stop but does not land both of his feet on the floor simultaneously, a necessary requirement of the rule….
The second: following his jump stop, LeBron reverse pivots using his left foot as his base, but slides his foot over from the white boundary line into the painted area itself.
The league has a twitter account (@NBAOfficial) to deal with these questions and tweeted this out Thursday.
Yes, LeBron should’ve been called for traveling on this play last night.
In the end, as Rasheed Wallace said, “ball don’t lie.” James only made one of two free throws, sending the game into overtime, where the Clippers won. Karma.
You can add this to the list of LeBron’s end-of-game mistakes on Wednesday.