It’s finally arrived: the NBA’s Last 2 Minute (L2M) report for last Friday’s (March 29) crazy Minnesota – Golden State game. We’re all now familiar with the improbable last 6 seconds in which the Timberwolves pulled out a 131-130 victory and the sequence of events is already indelibly etched in our memories: Keita Bates-Diop’s foul is ruled as before the act of shooting nullifying Kevin Durant’s basket; then yet another amazing Stephen Curry 3 from the corner to tie things up at 0:05; finally, the Durant foul on Karl-Anthony Towns who hits the winning free throw to give the T-Wolves the victory.
The L2M report is quite brief: it says 1) the refs got the foul call on Bates-Diop correct – that it was made prior to Durant’s upward shooting motion; 2) correct no call (cnc) for Curry, whose contact slightly pushing off Jerryd Bayless, who was defending on the play, was marginal; and finally, the call on Durant for restricting Towns’ Freedom of Movement (FOM) was correct.
My beef with the NBA rules and the report
If you really want to split hairs (which is what good referees have to do sometimes), I suppose I can go along with the decision that Durant wasn’t yet in his act of shooting – but that’s only because NBA rule No. 4, Section X defines the act of shooting as when, in the case of jump shots, the shooter starts to “bring the ball upward towards the basket”.
Personally, I prefer the rule of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which defines the act of shooting as beginning “when the player starts the continuous movement normally preceding the release of the ball,” which if you think about a jump shot, makes more sense: when a player bends the knees to begin the jump shot process the ball naturally drops and then the upward motion begins. In other words, by FIBA rules, the contact on Durant as he began the process that normally precedes the release of the ball, would likely have been considered an act of shooting foul.
And what about Curry’s behavior? INC!!
The L2M report doesn’t say anything about Curry’s behavior towards the referee after he hits the three. He points at him disrespectfully, taunting him not once, but also a second time from the bench area. The NBA’s guidelines regarding technical fouls for overt gestures as outlined in their Video Rulebook are very clear, but Curry’s actions don’t even get a mention in the report. This play should have been tagged “INC”, which stands for Incorrect No Call, i.e. Curry should have received immediately a technical foul.
Towns’ obvious free throw violation
Finally, while we can all agree on Durant’s egregious hold on Towns that restricted his movement in trying to get to the ball, the report doesn’t relate at all to Towns’ free throw: since when did the NBA stop calling violations on shooters for entering into the paint too early? Another “INC” that should have been added to this report!
A memorably crazy game with a crazy ending and an L2M report that maybe is not quite complete.