I’m not a parent but I know enough about parenting that if a kid messes something up that wasn’t his or hers to mess up, then he or she has to apologize and clean up the mess (as long as it’s feasible). The NBA isn’t my kid (though the financial implications would be nice), but I think the Association is getting away light with its ruling on the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder-Portland Trail Blazers game on Monday.
Here’s the situation, with seconds remaining in a remarkably intense game (no winter doldrums here, this game was played like game 5 of a playoff series that is knotted at two games apiece), Portland led 103-101. On OKC’s likely final possession, Kevin Durant drove to the hoop with LaMarcus Aldridge in close pursuit. Aldridge blocked Durant’s shot from behind, the force of the block sent the ball ricocheting off the backboard, off of a couple of players and out of bounds. The trail official called Aldridge for goaltending on the notion that the ball hit backboard before Aldridge touched it. The call, which isn’t reviewable via instant replay, resulted in a tie game, which the Thunder won in overtime.
Today the NBA fesssed up and said it was a wrong call. Why stop there? In this compressed season and in the compressed Western Conference playoff bracket, a win can make a world of difference in seedings and matchups. Oklahoma City returns to Portland on March 27. Void the goaltending call and everything that came after and resume the game with seconds to go with the right call made. As it stands, the NBA has simply apologized for the mess. They need to clean it up too.
Are the Clippers cursed? No, but this article says it better.
Oh and a tagline,i.e. who the hell am I. Martin Johnson wrote a weekly NBA column for the New York Sun from 2003-’08, and for http://www.theroot.com from 2008-’10. His sportswriting has also appeared in the NY Times, Wall St. Journal and the Atlantic Monthly.