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Controversial tip-in calls cost Bulls in overtime, Thibodeau is rightfully ticked

Mar 19, 2013, 11:13 AM EDT

To my eye — and by the NBA rulebook as I read it — there were two illegal tip-ins in the final minute of overtime between the Bulls and Nuggets Monday night.

Only one was reviewed on video. Only one got overturned. The Bulls lost by one point and Tom Thibodeau has every right to be mad.

Let’s start with the rule. Here is the interpretation of the rule direct from the NBA’s video officiating page (which had video examples):

Players are not allowed to touch the ball while any part of the ball remains in the cylinder above the basket ring. On this play, the offensive player taps the ball into the basket while the ball is still in the cylinder above the basket.

Players ARE allowed to tap, touch or rebound a shot attempt when the ball has rolled off of the basket ring and is outside of the imaginary cylinder.

Some people, both national talking heads and commenters online, say that you can touch the ball as it is rolling off the rim. Watching the NBA’s videos and reading that above, it reads to me that you can only touch the missed shot once it is outside the cylinder completely.

In the case of the first tap in, Denver was down one (115-114) with 50 seconds left when Ty Lawson drives the lane and misses the layup. Kosta Koufos comes in and with both hands tips it in — except replays clearly showed the ball was sitting on the rim and over the cylinder when it was tipped. In my mind that is offensive goaltending,

The referees didn’t review it because there was no call on which to base a replay.

Now we come to the Bulls final shot with 5.7 seconds left (the video above has a tip in between the controversial ones, that middle one is not in dispute). Marco Belinelli brought the ball up the left wing and took a hurried, off-balance jumper that was short, but Joakim Noah comes flying in, tipped the ball in and the United Center went crazy.

But it shouldn’t have counted and the refs got it right. Despite what the Bulls’ broadcasters say on the video above, that was an illegal tip in. The ball was on its way down and over the cylinder. The refs got the call right, that basket should not have counted.

The question is: Why did it get reviewed? Unlike the Koufos tip, this was called goaltending at the time (it was drowned out by the crowd). During a Denver timeout it was reviewed and the goaltending call was confirmed. As I said, it’s the correct call. It’s just not fair that only one of those calls can get reviewed.

You can expect an explanation from the league later today on this. But to me, both were illegal tip ins but just one was called. And the Bulls paid the price for that.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Are goal tending calls reviewable?

    • pudgalvin - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Only if the refs feel like it, apparently. Actually, I don’t think goal tending is reviewable, but offensive basket interference is reviewable, but only if they make a call on the court, for reasons that are completely inexplicable.

      • LilTmac2003 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        I really don’t believe it was offensive goaltending. B/c what if Marco Belenelli had tossed up a pass to Joakim for the tip-on, it would have been counted as an assist.

        Plus the shot wasn’t even in the cylinder. It was clearly going to hit the outter part of the rim. But that irked me the most — IS THE INCONSISTENCY!

        I mean look at Koufos! Yeah, that shot was rolling out but it was still above AND touching the rim. If Boozer or Noah were to get it — the would have called goaltending and rewarded Denver with the points.

        That’s the only thing that bugged me. You can question calls as much as you want — but you and I don’t make ’em. It’s the refs final decision that counts. The inconsistency though is an error on their part. Bulls got robbed of a W. Big time respect to Denver for going on this streak, but c’mon now.

  2. broncobeta - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    This is seriously pathetic.

    The Nuggets win 12 games straight and the only way they can get any media attention is by Joakim Noah goal tending a shot that was probably going in.

  3. chitownmatt - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    What is the reasoning behind Offensive Goal Tending in the first place???

    Shouldn’t the offensive players get to do whatever they can until the ball is in the hole?

    I understand Defensive Goal Tending as you don’t want the other team to just sit some 10 foot tall Sasquatch under the basket with his head through the rim to block shoots, but Offensive interference doesn’t really make sense to me.

    • swill881 - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Most likely since the defense would be at a disadvantage since the offense could go after the ball at anytime, but the defensive player has to wait for it to be out of the cylinder.

  4. beardown2489 - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Show me the video of the last basket being called a GT. I never saw it and I was there

    • broncobeta - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      Right. Because everyone knows that the best view in in live action rather than the billion angles they give you on TV.

  5. redhoffer - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Absurd. I can only assume this is another instance East Coast media bias. Noah’s tip in was arguably most extreme case of offensive goaltending I have ever seen yet the writer here somehow thinks the bog-market Bulls have cause to be upset it was called. What???? Noah must have had a major case of brain freeze to go up and tough the ball the way he did. That ought to be the story.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:15 AM

      Just for the record, I’m based out of LA. Get your coastal bias right, please.

  6. glink123 - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    So then pretty much every lob pass from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin should be ruled goaltending.

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