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League acknowledges Jermaine O’Neal did goaltend Monta Ellis’ shot in overtime

Apr 2, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT

Usually when the league admits a referee’s error it wouldn’t have really changed anything. This one could impact whether or not the Dallas Mavericks make the playoffs in the West.

The league admitted Wednesday that Jermaine O’Neal’s blocked shot on Monta Ellis with 16 seconds left in overtime of a tie game was in fact a goaltend (you can see the play at the start of the video above, which goes on to show Stephen Curry’s game winner).

“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. The exact trajectory of the ball when touched was impossible to ascertain with the naked eye, and the play was not reviewable,” Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, said in a released statement.

That admission and $4 will buy Mark Cuban a latte at Starbucks. It doesn’t help their playoff drive.

The Mavericks still lose the game and with that loss fell to the ninth seed in the West, half a game back of Memphis and Phoenix for the final playoff slots in the West. If the Mavericks finish one game out of the playoffs (a real possibility) they can point back to this game and this call. We don’t know how things would have played out differently if that was called a goaltend, maybe Curry still hits a shot to tie it and the Warriors win in double OT (or maybe he hits a three), but the Mavericks would have had a lead with :12 seconds left.

This admission is part of Adam Silver’s push for transparency on officiating as commissioner, which also has included releasing some of the memos about officiating sent to teams.

I’ll admit that watching it live last night and in replay a few times I thought it was a good no call. If the league office slowed it down and says it was a goaltend I’ll grant them that, but it would have been a hard call to make in real time.

  1. antistratfordian - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Facepalm indeed.

    This one is particularly annoying because it was completely avoidable. Just call the goaltend and review it! That’s why these review rules exist!!

  2. ringjames - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I feel as though, they should somehow make teams have rematches when they mess up on game changing calls.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      Or just replay the game from the point where the goaltend happened. Give the Mavs 2 points and Golden State the ball with however many seconds left.

      That would be just.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        They do this (replay from the point of the mistake)…just not often enough. What I don’t get is if the league acknowledges a potentially game-changing mistake, why say anything if they’re not going to replay from the time of the mistake onward. To me, it adds insult to injury. I understand a missed call on a 20-poing blowout, but this was a tied game in overtime and those 2 points probably would have altered the game.

  3. seattlesuperchronic - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Lot of good that does. The Mavs are fighting for a playoff spot and got jobbed. Curry being Curry still could’ve scored a game winner but the admission of guilt does nothing.

    I forget which game I was watching, but the refs went to that replay table about four times in the final minutes of a close game. They slowed the game down to the point I was going to turn it off. It seems like this would’ve been a good time for replay to be used.

  4. mogogo1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    The league is talking out of both sides of its mouth. If it wasn’t possible to ascertain the trajectory of the ball with the naked eye then it’s not fair to say it SHOULD have been ruled goaltending. That would fall into the category of too close to call, particularly since it wasn’t a reviewable play.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      It is a reviewable play. And I think it was an obvious goaltend.

  5. jrod2173 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    To bad they didn’t review the last drive by Klay Thompson (and plenty before that) that wasnt called a foul that was amazingly blatant. The game would have been over had they called that foul. But they didn’t. Refs make judgement calls. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. Every team gets the good calls and the bad calls. In the end the players decided the game, all that matters.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      You can’t review fouls (unless they’re trying to determine if it’s flagrant), but you can review goaltends under 2 minutes.

    • bendover09 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      Go to the dallas page and see how GS fans are backing Dirk and Ellis. All around horrible game for the refs. Crawford should be fired or asked to leave. The league needs to get younger refs in who can do the job. But no, we need the same ol farts who will pull the plug when needed for those Las Vegas boys.

      NBA is lost cause bc more & more ppl are starting to realize its a soap opera

  6. whitey11177 - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    I think the league should be fined or they have to donate money to something. This crap has to stop. Either the NBA should quit admitting when they screw up or they should make some kind of attempt to remedy the bad call.

  7. robertb655 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    As in any game, in any sport, it’s the Mavs fault for being in a position to lose this one. You can NEVER count on any ref to make a call that can seal the game for you. Is it right or just? NO. But does it happen? YES. Mavs had plenty of opportunity to avoid the OT all together, cant say the game was decided on just one call

  8. abchome - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    Feel really sorry for the Mavs. Hope they won’t miss the playoffs by 1 game.

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