Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Joy Robbed

The Chicago Bulls had victory snatched away from them last night after Brad Miller's last-second jumper was disallowed after a review from the officials (here is the clip).  The refs reviewed the play for about 10 full minutes as everyone in the UC waited for the outcome and then made the decision and took away the game-winning basket.  In my opinion, not only did the refs blow the call, but the whole closing sequence was fubared. 

It began with Denver's final possession with about 4 seconds left and the scored tied at 89. Chauncey Billups is fouled in the lane by Kirk Heinrich.  The clock showed 0.6 seconds after the foul, but no one checked the replay to see exactly when the foul occurred. 
Was this an insignificant detail?  Are we supposed to just accept that 0.6 seconds was exactly the time on the clock when the foul occurred, and move on?  I also blame coach Vinny del Negro for not insisting that the time be checked.  The officials could have put an second or two back on the clock, but instead they just moved along. 
I'm not saying that the Bulls would definitely have won if they had put a few more seconds up.  It would have opened up an entirely new set of events.

This gets into my sports time-travel theory.  You can never say, if one thing during the course of a sports game had changed - then the outcome would directly correlate. 

The classic situation is when a runner in baseball gets picked off and then the next batter hits a home run.  The announcer will often say that it would have been a two-run shot if the runner hadn't gotten picked off.  But this is not true, the whole situation would have been different, the batter would have seen different pitches and the pitcher's mentality would have been different, opening up an entirely different outcome. 

Just like with time-travel, if you go into the past and change one thing, like step on a bug for instance, you are creating an alternate future.  Thus, the sports time-travel theory.

Back to the game.
Billups misses the second free throw on purpose, thinking that the time will expire and the game will be over (because there is only 0.6 seconds left), but Jo Noah grabs the rebound and calls timeout and the officials put 0.3 seconds on the clock.  So the ball can hit the rim (when the clock should start) be controlled by Noah, and then he calls a timeout, all in 0.3 seconds.  Explain this to me.  Try to do it at home, it's impossible.  This error extends the game in the Bulls favor.

Then of course, in the final .03 seconds, Miller is not able to make a quick catch and flick the ball towards the hoop in time. 
But Noah could have the free throw hit the rim, grab it, control it, and then call time out in the that same 0.3 seconds.

The NBA: where officials arbitrarily deciding what 0.3 seconds constitutes, then robbing players and home fans of their joyous celebration happens.

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