We already saw a game-winner at the buzzer on Sunday morning. The game between the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks tried to match that magic, but instead things took an odd and bewildering turn.
As things wound down in the fourth quarter, Kent Bazemore was fouled on a 3-point shot. He was awarded free throws, and that’s when things got really strange.
Bazemore was shooting the second of three free throws when he missed and New York grabbed the rebound. Tim Hardaway Jr. ended up scoring for the Knicks on the break and drawing a foul, a big swing for the Knicks. It was then pointed out that Bazemore didn’t get to shoot his third free throw. Officials agreed, so they reset the clock and the score back to what it had been after the Hawks guard had missed his second free throw.
Officials were contacted after the game about the sequence, and the explanation is dizzying. Apparently, if more than 24 seconds had elapsed after the error, Hardaway Jr.’s shot and foul would have also counted.
Q: Why did the play continue after Bazemore’s second free throw and why did Hardaway’s basket not count?
A: What was called was a 3-shot foul and not 2. So, played continued erroneously after two free throws, now we go down to the other end of the floor and we have a foul. Then it was brought to our attention that we should’ve shot one extra free throw. The rule under correctable errors is, do you want the citation? It says if there’s a merited free throw that was not shot, that was to remain in play, which was what our situation was, than if under 24 seconds have elapsed, we go back to the point of interruption, reset the game clock, and nullify all play that happens up until that point.
Q: What would happen if it happened after 25 seconds?
A: That play would count, the foul would count. We’d still go back and we’d correct the error but since it was over 24 seconds, we would play from where the foul happened. Since it was under 24, we nullify all play and we go back to the point of interruption.
Q: Where is it found in the rulebook?
A: Rule 2, section 6, Af.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he had never seen anything like that sequence before.
Several minutes later, Bazemore did this, effectively sealing the game for Atlanta:
New York got a chance to score at the end of the game, but missed the opportunity. There was yet another strange occurrence, as New York big man Kristaps Porzingis appeared to wave at someone in the crowd during the final shot, missing the start of the play.
Porzingis said after the game that he was trying to get the attention of an official to watch for an oncoming foul, but it is sort of hard to discern that from the video.
Hardaway Jr. missed the final shot for New York, and the Hawks beat the Knicks in the most confusing game of the year, 99-96.