Ray Allen’s shot at the end of regulation to send Game 6 of the Finals into overtime was as clutch as they come, especially considering those now famous yellow ropes in place along the sidelines that were there in preparation for the Spurs’ trophy presentation.
NBA Hall-of-Famer Rick Barry has turned it into a mini-controversy this summer, however, claiming in multiple interviews that Allen traveled before delivering the breathtaking shot.
The NBA’s referees, who are gathered in New Jersey this week for their annual preseason summit, politely disagree with Barry’s assessment.
From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:
On Thursday the league invited some members of the media to look at some of the work the officials have been doing and discuss some minor rule changes and adjustments. But one thing that came up was Allen’s huge shot. Was it or wasn’t it a travel?
The answer from the best in the world was definitive: No.
Barry and others feel that Allen took three steps, one more than allotted, before shooting the ball. Looking at it frame-by-frame, indeed there is some gray area there. Under league rules, a player is permitted two steps after the “gather.”
Whether you side with Barry or with the officials on the issue depends on when you believe Allen began his so-called gather.
For what it’s worth, Kurt Helin pointed this out in our original post on the subject, and ended up seeing it the same way the referees did.
The NBA rule on traveling was described by the league this way:
A player who receives the ball while moving is allowed a two count rhythm but must release the ball prior to the third step touching the floor.
Does Allen take a third step? Looking at the replay I don’t think so. The NBA allows a “gather” and two steps and Allen is well within that.
The conclusion by those in the officiating profession won’t change Barry’s or anyone else’s opinion, of course. But if nothing else, the assessment of the referees should be weighted more heavily than those on the outside when considering the differing views.