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Did Dwyane Wade travel on key play? Close examination says no.

May 29, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

Here’s why Dwyane Wade had a dumbfounded look on his face after he got called for traveling with 26.9 seconds left in Game 4 — he does that little step back move all the time. And it’s never called a travel.

And it wasn’t this time.

The video above is courtesy our old friend Rob Mahoney, now of Sports Illustrated, who broke the footage down for The Point Forward. He quotes the Rulebook and adds these comments.

“A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing must release the ball to start his dribble before his second step.

The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.”

The operative word is bolded above, as the most crucial determination to be made on this play is when Wade gains control of the ball. If he gathers his dribble either simultaneously or slightly after planting his foot (as appears to be the case), then his play is legitimate. If he gains control before taking that step, then it would count as the first in his sequence and thus make the play a violation.

The officiating Tuesday night was rough. It was bad both ways — the 24 second call on the Pacers in the fourth quarter was egregious, I don’t think LeBron James’ sixth foul was one, and we could go on and on down the list. (Just spare me Heat fans if you think the refs cost you the game, your guys had chances to put this away and take it out of the refs’ hands and blew it.)

All we can hope for in Game 5 is more competence. And maybe fewer technical — let the guys show some emotion and disagree a little, it’s the playoffs.

  1. bknowledge - May 29, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Definitely traveled twice…

  2. kinggw - May 29, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    I find it comical that Steve Javie said that the call on Wade was wrong and was not a travel, and the rule is clearly explained early in the article and yet people are still making up their own rules for what constitutes a travel. You are entitled to your opinion regarding the Heat and how many calls they may or may not get. You are not entitled to your own facts.

    Yes there were bad calls on bad sides, but Helin’s argument that Miami had time to overcome the calls that went against them is asinine. The bad call against the Pacers happened with 8 plus minutes to go in the game. The two controversial calls (at least the last two) against Miami happened in the final minute. Were not even going to bring up Lebron’s 5th which is the same thing that Hibbert has getting away with most of the series. The biggest problem I have with the officiating in this series is that there are two sets of rules. Hibbert gets away with contact near the basket on the defensive end, but you cant seem to touch him. Hibbert has been great this series, but he has had everything called his way. They rarely if ever get him for 3 seconds. The good thing for the Heat going forward is that there hasnt been a game in this series where things have been called tight for the Pacers frontcourt. They’re due. If West and Hibbert start getting called for the ticky tack touch fouls early on that Bosh and Wade have been getting whistled for, I wonder how effective they would be. Indiana has played well and they deserve credit for the win, but the referees did play an integral part in their victory last night.

  3. chicagofan - May 29, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    NBA players get away with traveling so much that people don’t know a violation when it is obviously so. He travelled!

  4. dunne60194 - May 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    If you have played basketball before you know when you have committed a traveling violation. You feel awkward and hope no one caught it. Secondly, he stepped back and threw a very strange and quick pass to get rid of the ball. Why? He knew. His disbelief was that they made the call on him. It’s called Karma for Wade and James.
    Where was Bosh the entire game? Blame Bosh, not the officials.

  5. truthandreason2 - May 30, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    This is pretty simple, Wade traveled twice. He wasn’t that upset because he knows it. He knows you can only get away with two steps if you are progressing to the hoop, and that is what the rules state. Now, watching a lot of NBA basketball will tell you that he can get away with the move he did because they stopped calling it. The problem is, he did it twice in about a second, and I counted six steps and one bounce. It is kind of hard for even an NBA ref to let that pass. I remember back in the 80s when they stopped calling traveling, with Larry Bird as the worst offender. I have matured since then and at least understand why. Yes, it is preferential treatment, but it is not meant to be. I kind of see why it has evolved the way it has. Refs feel less qualified than some of the stars to make the call, so they shy away from it. For example. love him or hate him, no one could argue Lebron James’ knowledge of basketball. He is also the highest profile player, so a ref is less likely to make a call against him. However, James is human and will try to get away with something once in awhile, and the refs will hesitate to call it because they feel he must know what he is doing. I know, sounds stupid, but I think it makes sense, and I say that from experience on an amateur level. I played in pickup games for years as an adult and was usually the best player there. We called our own fouls and I had a reputation of being knowledgeable and very honest with my calls. There were arguments on many calls, but never against me. They figured I knew what I was doing. But I know I got away with quite a bit, because in the heat of the moment I thought what I did was okay, and it was too late to call anything on myself once I realized it wasn’t. But they never questioned me. And you can’t tell me the other team didn’t want to win, they had more motivation to call me on it than any ref does. Again, they just assumed if I did it, it must be right.

  6. packfaninvikeland - May 30, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    I would say he didn’t travel if the NBA rule is once you stop dribbling you can take a step, pivot foot or not. Or does it only pertain to a player driving to the basket? If there is, then he basically traveled twice and I hate him more.. However, If there is no stipulation, then as a closet Heat hater, I would have to commend Wade for exploiting a rule no one thinks twice about lol

  7. realninerfan22 - May 30, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    D wades been doing that move for 10 years stop it! It was a step back jumper. And Kurt quit overhyping lbj, he’s showing you how average he looks against smart in physical teams. This is no surprise.. I guess lbj people pays u to right? Smh..

  8. getsome99 - May 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    He traveled twice. May have been different on the second travel had he shot the ball but he not only took 2 HUGE steps but he picks up his pivot before passing the ball. The first travel was 4 steps. Not sure what the debate is all about. Dude took 6 and a half steps and then passed the ball.

  9. lemfaxx - May 30, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    FACT: if the game is close in less than two minutes left in the game you could rely on the ref:)

  10. lemfaxx - May 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    So far series controlled by the pacers unless eric can do some big adjustments

    • filsaimewalky - May 30, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      indiana will loose that game 2night at miami 4sure.


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