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Another controversial call gives Nets one last chance against Heat (VIDEO)

May 14, 2014, 11:26 PM EDT

On one of the final plays in Game 5 between the Clippers and the Thunder, Matt Barnes appeared to foul Reggie Jackson on a shot attempt at the rim, followed by Jackson knocking the ball out of bounds.

Foul calls are not reviewable under the league’s instant replay rules, but matters of possession are. And despite the video evidence to the contrary, the referees on the scene made what appeared to be the wrong call, and the NBA backed it up a day later with an official release.

Somewhat incredibly, we were faced with almost the exact same situation near the end of Miami’s Game 5 win over the Nets.

With the Heat leading by two and under seven seconds remaining, Paul Pierce was hacked on the arm by LeBron James. But no foul was called, and Pierce appeared to be the last one to touch it before the ball went out of bounds. After an official review, the foul wasn’t awarded, because it couldn’t have been according to the rules of replay. The Nets maintained possession, though, despite the fact that the ball should have been awarded to Miami.

Now, page 30 of the NBA’s official rule book seems to cover this situation, and it reads as follows:

“If a player has his hand in contact with the ball and an opponent hits the hand causing the ball to go out-of-bounds, the team whose player had his hand on the ball will retain possession.”

This seems to be a catch-all for situations where the referees don’t call a foul — either by choice, or because they just missed it — but it’s hard to explain to fans watching in real time who (a) saw the foul that wasn’t called, and then (b) witnessed the ball clearly go off of a player, only to see it awarded to his team nonetheless.

Either way, the Nets were given a final chance to tie or take the lead because of this interpretation. It didn’t impact the game’s outcome, so it’s unlikely we’ll see it addressed the way we did the play from the end of Game 5 between the Clippers and the Thunder. But it’s kind of crazy that we’re dealing with such a specifically controversial situation for the second straight night during these playoffs.

  1. fanofthegame79 - May 14, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    As a Heat fan, I was fine with this call. And the call after that (off of Bosh). If the NBA wants to call these plays as such, fine – they set that precedent last night. Just stay consistent, that’s all most fans ask for.

    • casualcommenter - May 15, 2014 at 12:18 AM

      Not a Heat fan, but I agree. I think it was the “fairest” call possible in that situation.

      • savvybynature - May 15, 2014 at 12:47 AM

        Yeah agree but they need to make it policy then, or at least consistent. In these same playoffs it has gone the opposite way. That’s what’s infuriating.

    • Kevin S. - May 15, 2014 at 6:01 AM

      Of course you are. Any Heat fan complaining about the officiating after the gifts they got all night should be drawn and quartered. 31-15, and the Nets were attacking the basket. All playoffs, Raptor and Heat fans have been whining about the refs when the Nets shot three more free throws. This is what one-sided officiating looks like.

      • packergator - May 15, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        Whine all you want about one game; the Nets didn’t get it done in four different games in this series.

      • borderline1988 - May 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM

        Because of their lack of shot-blocking at the time, the Nets play a very aggressive style of perimeter defense, where they constantly hack and body up the opposing dribblers. They also set dirty screens on offense all day long.

        I have no sympathy for the Nets. They get away with way too much on the perimeter, but the refs are more likely to call something when somebody’s going to the basket.
        That last play with the Raptors, the Nets physically held Lowry for 3 out of the 5 seconds before the inbounds play and basically ruined the Raptors’ set. They get away with it because it’s the last possession and because they’re the ‘veterans’ playing the ‘youngsters’.

        I’m sorry Nets fans, but you got beat in the paint b/c Garnett is too old to do what he used to. And because Deron Williams couldn’t decisively win his matchups against Chalmers and Cole. Goodbye!

      • cwilson6843 - May 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        @Kevin- you’re talking about heat fans whining about officiating, but you’re on here whining about officiating….. get real bro don’t be a hypocrite

  2. ss3walkman - May 14, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Another reason for Pierce and KG to hate Ray Allen

  3. antistratfordian - May 14, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    I think the refs got this one right. LeBron hit Pierce’s right hand, and Pierce’s right hand knocks the ball out – so according to the rule that was floating around twitter yesterday, the ball goes back to Brooklyn.

    Remember, the hand is a part of the ball and these snake-like strikes from defenders happen pretty fast – it’s hard for the refs to see exactly where they hit.

    • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 12:45 AM

      He gets all wrist not hand but I agree refs got this one correct.

      • antistratfordian - May 15, 2014 at 2:14 AM

        After further review in HD, it does appear that LeBron’s left thumb actually hits the ball before he hits Pierce. That’s not a foul.

        After he hits the ball, his palm slides down Pierce’s hand to his wrist and the ball flies out of bounds. The refs got the call right either way, according to that rule.

      • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        I did rewatch it and I don’t know, it’s close, but that’s a whole lotta wrist. You have to know, it’s hard to take your opinion seriously when it comes to Lebron, Anti, you would never admit he fouled even if he did but we can agree that the refs got this one right. The Nets still had a chance to setup an out of bounds play and get a shot and they completely failed.

      • antistratfordian - May 15, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        Fair enough. But I do see the thumb on the ball in one frame. I’m not making that up.

        But if I’m the Nets I wouldn’t even want two free throws there anyway – OT was probably not going to be friendly – so I think I would prefer a clean look from three.

  4. jzone954 - May 14, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    If there wasn’t an outrage from Doc and the bunch about what happened yesterday , tonight would’ve been Heat ball. I mean if with ink on paper the rule is actually right what we saw from these 2 calls what are you gonna do? They obviously got it right no? I understand the moment because I was yelling Heat ball as well.

  5. ProBasketballPundit - May 15, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    Both calls were correct. And for all of you saying “Reggie Jackson hit the ball again after Barnes hit his hand” shush. Just shush. Spirit of the law, not letter of the law.

    • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 12:49 AM

      So basically you admit you were wrong when you posted 25 times that the refs officiated it correctly, according to the rulebook?

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 15, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        I’m saying you guys are too into the literal technical interpretation of the rule and not taking it for what it’s meant to accomplish. The point of the rule is “If we missed a foul and it caused a player to lose the ball we won’t then punish that player for being fouled by taking the ball away.” But all you a-holes keep replying to me saying, “Uhh, technically it doesn’t apply because I’m a nerd and have nothing better to do with my life than be a contrarian on the internet.”

      • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Lol. Don’t get all salty because you were wrong.

        The real irony of your reply is you’re contradicting yourself now.

        The name calling is cute too. Sorry you’re having such a miserable day. You should try enjoying life more.

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 15, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Dude, you don’t even know the half of it. I threw my keys into a tree earlier. Had to go home and get a tree trimming pole to knock them out.

      • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        Well that’s a real B#$%^!

  6. cantonb0und13 - May 15, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    See Doc Rivers don’t make execuses. Just get ready for the next play.

  7. dirtyjerseysports - May 15, 2014 at 2:11 AM

    LOL Pierce gets fouled on the play and should of been at the line shooting to tie the game. But hey I have two eyes and am nt on the NBA payroll so its clear as day to me.

    • antistratfordian - May 15, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      Nah, my TV screen says LeBron got ball first. But let’s say Pierce does hit 2 free throws – then Miami has the ball in a tie game with 10 seconds left. Sounds good to me.

      So the Heat were winning the game anyway. If not in regulation then definitely in OT because they were rocking and rolling at the end of this game.

      • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        At that point with the momentum 376% in the Heat favor, and in Miami, I’m not even sure Pierce hits both free throws to tie.

      • dirtyjerseysports - May 15, 2014 at 7:51 PM

        You mean 5 seconds

      • antistratfordian - May 15, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        Was it at 5 seconds? I forgot. King James only needs 1 though. Or Ray Allen. Or Wade. Or Bosh. Or Rio.

      • dirtyjerseysports - May 15, 2014 at 9:25 PM

        Or Crawford or Stern or Silver

      • antistratfordian - May 15, 2014 at 10:19 PM

        True. They all work for LeBron. They have to do the King’s bidding.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - May 15, 2014 at 6:33 AM

      A previous poster was quite sure that the Nets were given the ball to give them a chance to run down the clock before a possible 3 to win or a 2 to tie and go to o/t, instead of Miami getting the ball with time on the clock when they would be tied at worst.

      It’s unusual, but entertaining, to see a conspiracy theory offered up on behalf of each team for the same decision by the officials.

  8. ogbobbydeas - May 15, 2014 at 5:33 AM

    Miami CHeat

    NBA=WWE

    #fixed

    • anythingbutyanks - May 15, 2014 at 5:36 AM

      So don’t watch and don’t comment. Solves your problem and mine.

      • ogbobbydeas - Aug 20, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        I can comment whenever, eat somebody but hole and then ask for seconds , punk

    • packergator - May 15, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      Sure, that’s how the Mavs beat the Heat in the 2011 Finals – because the league rigged the series for the Heat. Go play with your tinfoil hat now.

      • dirtyjerseysports - May 15, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        LOL I wonder why Tim Donaghy went to jail……

      • ogbobbydeas - Aug 20, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        Go play with yourself and maybe you can relieve some of that tension and see that I am right punk

  9. cantonbound13 - May 15, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    If Pierce hacked LeBaby we’d never hear the end of it & someone would have lost their job.

    • rickperez473 - May 15, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      I would say that it’s pretty ironic that someone who has been whining about Lebron James for years sees it right to call Lebron “LeBaby.” Very creative, by the way.

    • nard100 - May 15, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      And he did all night long so what is your point? Remember LBJ got 5 fouls in the previous game. Face it the only guy on Nets that showed up last night was Jackson. Period. 4 minutes and no points at the end and it’s the refs fault? Child please.

  10. azarkhan - May 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Thank God the Nets signed Jason Collins. He had a tremendous series against Miami.

  11. c2poke88 - May 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    The haters are so predictable. When Plumlee high-fived Lebron’s wrist on a dunk attempt and no foul was called, the haters said the block was good because hand is part of the ball. But when Lebron whacks Pierce’s hand and the ball goes out of bounds off Pierce, the haters say it was an OBVIOUS foul on Lebron. It seems your impression of what’s right or wrong depends on what side of issue Lebron is on.

    • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      What about the reasonable fans that say the outcome of the call was fair? It was a maybe foul depending on the viewpoint of the officials but if the Nets don’t get the ball there I could see a legitimate complaint.

      As it turned out the Nets got the ball, no foul called on Lebron, I think that was about as fair as it can get.

      • c2poke88 - May 15, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But it is the job of NBA officials to enforce NBA rules in that situation. According to NBA rules, it was not a “fair” outcome. If hand is part of the ball, then Lebron didn’t foul Pierce on the play. So Brooklyn was NOT entitled to retain possession of the ball because of an alleged missed foul call. Also, Pierce touched the ball last, so the ball went out of bounds off of him. Third, the refs initially gave Miami possession of the ball, then changed that call prior to the video review. Isn’t that what the replay system is for? They shouldn’t have changed possession without first reviewing the play. If they had stayed with the initial call on the floor, then the “inconclusive” video review would have given Miami the ball. So for several reasons, the “fair” result would have been for Miami to gain possession of the ball. The refs had to circumvent NBA rules in order to give the ball back to Brooklyn. Anytime refs have to go off-book to determine possession of the ball, the result cannot be deemed fair because the process was manipulated by the “impartial rules endorcers (refs)” to produce a certain outcome. In game 5 the LAC-OKC & BKN-MIA games, the NBA instant replay system was INTENTIONALLY misused in order to make sure one team retained possession, because the applicable rules would have rewarded the other team with the ball. There is nothing fair about that.

      • bougin89 - May 15, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        It wasn’t a foul on Lebron because the refs didn’t call it but it very well could have been. It wasn’t “clearly not a foul” by any stretch.

        If you say it’s a foul you’re a hater though? I guess I’m not a hater because I only said in terms of fairness not calling a foul on Lebron but giving the Nets the ball is fair because it really could have gone either way(the foul call/non call that is).

  12. doctordunkenstein - May 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Proof the NBA wants the Heat to win!!! Wait, what was the call again?

  13. cwilson6843 - May 16, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Yall are stupid. I’m a lebron fan, and yes that was a foul. BUT…. the ref was not in position to make the call. And just like the nfl you can’t use the replay and make the call afterwards. It is what it is. Who cares because if that foul would have been called, Miami would still have one. Brooklyn looks good on paper. They’re not really contenders. Joe Johnson more power to you bro. Straight up baller. Sorry you’re stuck with the nets

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