The NBA office acknowledged that Golden State Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal should have been called for goaltending on a critical, controversial block of Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis’ potential go-ahead shot late in the Warriors’ overtime win Tuesday night.
“Upon review at the league office, we have found that a shot taken by Dallas’ Monta Ellis with 16.0 seconds remaining in overtime was on the way down when initially contacted and ruled a block by Golden State’s Jermaine O’Neal, and should have been ruled a goaltend,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a statement. “The exact trajectory of the ball when touched was impossible to ascertain with the naked eye, and the play was not reviewable.”
The score was tied when Ellis drove from the right wing and attempted a floater over O’Neal. Warriors guard Stephen Curry hit the game-winning jumper with a tenth of a second remaining on the ensuing possession.
The loss dropped Dallas to ninth place in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns. The Mavs would have been alone in seventh place, only a half-game behind sixth-place Golden State, with a win over the Warriors. ESPN
The league is in a tough spot. Admitting to this mistake is commendable, and appreciated, but the Mavericks have to be fuming over this error. It’s just really, really difficult to tell what happened without taking a second look. What’s clear in slow motion is blurred at normal speeds. The problem is that there’s little that can be done about these situations. Games would take forever to complete if plays like this were eligible for review without a dead ball.
We should not take for granted that the league responds to matters like these to clarify rules and errors so that everyone can get closer to the same page. An improbable goal but one worth striving for to improve the game, and giving everyone a fair chance to win. – AL
Featured image courtesy of Noah Bohman/FLickr.