Kyle Lowry wrongly credited with 3-pointer in OT, Heat beat Hornets in 2OT

Kyle Lowry in Miami Heat v Charlotte Hornets
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The Heat beat the Hornets, 111-107, in double overtime last night. Miami got that far, in part, because of a Kyle Lowry 3-pointer in the first overtime.

Except Lowry’s foot was clearly inside the arc.

The play wasn’t even reviewed.

Bally Sports Southeast:

Lowry made the shot with 2:02 left in the first overtime. A review could have happened at the next clock stoppage if officials were “not reasonably certain” whether it was a 2-pointer or 3-pointer. Because the clock stops in the final two minutes of an overtime after a made basket and the Hornets hadn’t yet inbounded the ball following Lowry’s basket, the clock briefly stopped with 2:00 left. Once Charlotte inbounded, the chance for a replay passed.

Why didn’t officials stop the game for a replay when they could?

“The crew has to have doubt in order to stop the play,” crew chief Sean Wright told a pool reporter.Unfortunately, we did not have doubt at this time, which is the reason we didn’t stop the play.”

That a pretty dismal explanation. Not only did officials make the wrong call, they were certain they got it right. So, it wasn’t reviewed and corrected.

But I wonder whether there was another issue.

The clock stoppage was so abrupt. The clock was running while the Hornets began to take the ball out of bounds, stopped because they hadn’t inbounded quite yet then started moments later when the first Charlotte player touched the ball.

Not only did referees have to officiate the inbound – watching for a five-second call and other potential violations – and get into position with the ball headed to the other side of the court… they were tasked with realizing this was the incredibly narrow window to initiate a review (if they were indeed uncertain about 2-pointer vs. 3-pointer).

That’s too much to juggle.

The NBA should aim to automate as much of refereeing as possible. Can cameras and sensors quickly determine which shots occur from beyond the arc? If not yet, could that technology be impelemnted soon?

We’ll never know how this game would have proceeded with a correct call. You can’t just see the tie at the end of the first overtime, subtract a point from the Heat and assume the final two minutes would have played out the same. Miami having one less point would have changed strategy for both teams in the final two minutes of the first overtime.

We also don’t know how many other incorrect calls and non-calls occurred throughout the game and which teams they benefited. This blunder gets highlighted because it’s so easily recognizable and occurred in crunch time.

But the league should have better systems in place for getting these calls right.