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NBA issues statement on controversial end to Raptors-Kings game

Terrence Ross kings

Toronto Raptors forward Terrence Ross (31) hits a 3-point shot at the buzzer that was ruled no basket by the officials against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The shot would have sent the game into overtime. The Kings won 102-99. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)


The Toronto Raptors won’t be getting their game-tying shot by Terrence Ross back over the Sacramento Kings. The NBA released their L2M report after a controversial finish on Sunday, and on Monday released an official statement from the league office.

If you’re not familiar with the call, it’s probably best to give a recap. With 2.4 seconds left, the Raptors were inbounding the ball with DeMarcus Cousins defending at the sideline. As the ball was passed inbounds, Cousins tipped the pass slightly, and so the clock should have began.

But it didn’t.

Ross then collected the pass, the clock began, he took two dribbles, and then hit a 3-pointer that clanged in.

After a review, the officials waved off the basket after digitally timing the amount of time between Cousins’ tip and Ross’ shot.

Raptors fans understandably have an issue with this, even outside of the loss, because it does a couple of things.

First, it sets an odd precedent for every end-of-game shot to be reviewed not just for a release against a buzzer, but for a properly-timed beginning on a play after a clock stoppage. That could seriously bog down the end of a games if it became commonplace.

Second, as Kurt Helin pointed out, measuring the clock after the fact could have an unfair disadvantage for players. That is, if they think they have more time than they do, their actions might change.

For example, Ross may not have taken his two dribbles against the Kings and instead heaved it up immediately from where he caught it if he knew the clock already started.

In summary, the league maintains that the play was officiated to the rules of the NBA.

The full release is here:

The National Basketball Association released the following statement today from Byron Spruell, President, League Operations, regarding the clock malfunction at the end of the Sacramento Kings’ 102-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors last night at Golden 1 Center:

“After review at the league office, we have concluded that the end of the game was officiated correctly by NBA rules. We reviewed all aspects of the final 27.4 seconds and below is a summary of our evaluation.

“Toronto inbounded the ball with 2.4 seconds remaining in the game, and the clock did not start when the pass was deflected by Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins. Per the NBA’s precision timing system, the clock can be started by either the referees or the clock operator. The referees noticed the clock malfunction immediately which triggered a replay review under rule 13.1.a.5, which states that a review must occur if ‘a play concludes (i) with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any period or (ii) at a point when the game officials believe that actual time may have expired in any period; and the officials are reasonably certain that the game clock malfunctioned during the play.’

“Per rule 13.2.e.1, the Replay Center was then tasked with determining ‘the proper time (if any) on the game clock following the clock malfunction by determining how much time on the game clock actually expired.’ To determine how much time actually expired, Replay Center referee Zach Zarba used a digital timer on the Replay Center screen. The determination was that 2.5 seconds expired, thus negating the basket.

“We also reviewed the question surrounding the time left on the clock for Sacramento’s final possession. That possession started with 26.4 seconds remaining on the game clock since that is when Cousins secured possession of the rebound after a missed free throw. The subsequent shot clock violation on the Kings’ possession therefore left 2.4 seconds remaining in the game.”