The Pacers had the ball, a two-point deficit and a chance to win.
They also should’ve had more time.
Indiana didn’t even get off a shot on its final possession in a 91-89 loss to the Clippers on Tuesday. That might have gone differently if officials had ruled correctly on the preceding backcourt violation.
With a four-second difference between the shot clock and game clock, Clipper forward Paul Pierce missed a 3-pointer. Jamal Crawford offensively rebounded the ball, but – in danger of falling out of bounds – threw it past halfcourt. J.J. Redick touched the ball for a backcourt violation.
But when did he touch it?
After conferring, officials put 2.1 seconds on the clock for the Pacers’ final possession. They should have gotten more.
Crawford (LAC) controls the ball and throws it into the backcourt. A violation is correctly called, however the clock should have been reset to 00:02.7.
I’m not sure how the league got 2.7 seconds. Indiana deserved even more time.
Is Redick touching the ball here, with 3.1 seconds left?
I think so, but it’s not entirely clear.
He definitely is with 3.0 seconds left:
Still, 2.7 seconds – let alone 3.0 or 3.1 seconds – would’ve been a huge help.
Left to force something quick, the Pacers had their first inbound pass deflected out of bounds:
The officials conferred and gave Indiana back the ball with 0.3 seconds left. That inbound pass went off the backboard, effectively ending the game:
How much easier would the Pacers’ task – still difficult, no doubt – have been with the correct time? They could’ve sent the first inbound pass to more areas of the court, because the person receiving it would’ve have had more time to dribble and/or fake.
Even if the Clippers still would’ve deflected the first inbound in the same manner, the second inbound also would’ve benefited with an extra second. As it stood, 0.3 seconds is just enough to catch and immediately shoot.
Why isn’t this reviewable?
The refs could review the deflection out of bounds, because the clock ran out. When that happens – or the refs deem possibly should have happened – they can review.
But the timing on a backcourt violation, even in the final minutes, is not reviewable.
The officials huddled for a while to discuss the play, so it didn’t save time. A review might have even gone quicker.
Plus, it’s a tough call to make. It was a backcourt violation only because Crawford controlled the rebound. If the officials ruled he tipped it out, the Clippers would’ve been free to recover the ball in the backcourt. That’s a lot of directions to look simultaneously, and it seems watching the clock went on the backburner.
We have the technology to make this easier and give teams a fairer crack at winning. The NBA should use it.