Thursday, June 15, 2006

Getting By With a Little Help

Today's issue of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:

"In a game where every second counted and was not determined until the final tick, the NBA announced Wednesday that 3.4 seconds were lost from the decisive final period of Tuesday's 98-96 Heat victory over the Mavericks. NBA Vice President Stu Jackson released a statement Wednesday that read, 'the NBA League Office has determined that the game timing system malfunctioned on two separate occasions in the fourth period.'

'With 45.3 seconds remaining in the game, the clock continued to run for 2.5 seconds after a foul was called on Jason Terry of the Mavericks, and with 4.3 seconds remaining in the game, the clock continued to run for 0.9 seconds after a foul was called on Udonis Haslem of the Heat.' While the Heat has had a history of clock malfunctions, the league said the errors were a result of 'the electronic device worn by one of the game officials.' Apparently, one of the referees did not blow his whistle loud enough on the plays in question."

I might be stating the obvious, but this is a pretty huge deal. Not that the timing would have necessarily worked out in Dallas's favor, but if they'd had 4.4 seconds (the discrepancy plus the 1 second they actually had on the final possession), they could have gotten something better than that bonehead attempt at a tip-in. I suspect Nowitzki would have taken an awkward-looking jumper, and let's be honest, he probably would have been fouled in the process. With visions of a scantily clad David Hasselhoff dancing in his head, Dirk makes the two free throws to knot it (he wouldn't miss two more... again), and Miami, with no timeouts remaining, gives the ball to Walker, whose 60-foot desperation heave at the buzzer rims out. However, the officials call goaltending, ruling that Avery Johnson's bulging eyes passed underneath the cylinder, thereby interfering with the shot. So Miami wins anyway. Walker starts dancing but looks more like he's constipated, starting and stopping out of confusion over whether to wiggle for a game-winning shot that didn't actually go in. Meanwhile, the fan celebration is punctuated by what is mistakenly assumed to be a firework display, but is, in fact, the sound of Mark Cuban's head exploding.

Tell me that's not a much better ending.

My advice to the league officials: check the "electronic device" for hair pomade. I'm sure you'll find a left partial belonging to Pat Riley.

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