When the Kings filed an official protest with the league over a last-second loss in Memphis earlier this season, there were two points of contention where Sacramento believed it had a case.
One was the (alleged) fact that Ryan Hollins tipped the ball while guarding the inbound pass that led to the last-second shot, which, if true, would have meant that the clock would have started right then and there, and time would have expired before the shot could have been gotten off.
The other was that, even if Hollins didn’t touch the ball, the clock started late, and the shot should not have counted because it was launched after the game’s time should have expired.
Neither were viewed to be valid by the league, and the protest was denied.
Predictably. those in Sacramento were less than pleased with the decision.
“The referees had a duty to count frames on the replay and they didn’t,” one Kings source said. “We felt and still feel strongly that there was significant error in this decision.”
Under NBA procedures, each team has an opportunity to make submissions in support of its position, and the protesting team is required to establish a misapplication of the official playing rules that had a clear impact on the game’s outcome. The Kings filed a protest and sent their own video and pictures to the NBA hoping to strengthen their case. Kings officials believe the referees misapplied the rules by not counting frames on Lee’s shot when analyzing the replay and not taking into account a late-starting clock, a source told Yahoo Sports. …
“I hit the ball,” Hollins told Yahoo Sports. “No question about it. You see the trajectory. You even see my reaction afterwards. Even if you can’t conclude that I hit the ball, the shot still didn’t get off with the correct call.”
In the league’s official release, the decision was explained in painstaking detail.
The basis for the Kings’ protest was that Courtney Lee’s game-winning shot should have been disqualified as having been made after time expired. Under league procedures, each team has an opportunity to make submissions in support of its position, and the protesting team is required to establish a misapplication of the official playing rules that had a clear impact on the game’s outcome.
The Commissioner determined that the game officials’ call that Lee’s shot was timely was within their judgment and not a misapplication of the playing rules. Sacramento’s protest therefore did not justify the extraordinary remedy of overturning the game’s result.
The bottom line here is that no rules were ignored or misinterpreted, and the way things ultimately played out was a judgment call by the officials. There wasn’t anywhere near enough evidence for the protest to be won in the Kings’ favor; maybe next time, they won’t allow an opposing team’s player to get loose so freely with the game hanging in the balance.