Eric Smith's Take
Old 04-03-2008, 03:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Eric Smith's Take

This is what Eric had to say about last night.

And I agree with Eric and that we need to refocus and not dwell on this for too long. Let management worry about it and let the players worry about their game.

Originally Posted by Eric Smith's Blog
Did the Raptors get screwed last night?


But will anything be done about it?

Absolutely not.

As I’m writing this, the Raptors are still waiting to hear back from the league office RE: the outcome of last night’s game between Toronto and Atlanta … and the protest the Raptors filed after the game.

For those that have been living under a rock for the last 12 hours or so … TJ Ford had a game-winning alley-oop bucket waived off after the referees determined that Ford did not release the ball from his hands before the game had actually expired.

With :0.05 seconds to play, Carlos Delfino inbounded the ball on the left sideline and found a cutting Ford on the far right side of the hoop. Ford had ducked in behind the Hawks’ defense. He was WIDE open. It was a beautiful play for T.O.

But Ford wasn’t able to simply “tip” in the ball … he had to sort of “catch” it … or “guide” it in … and that extra time on his release made the difference with just a half-second to play.

There’s no doubt that Ford did NOT release the shot before time expired.

However, that’s not the issue. That’s not the controversy.

The biggest problem the Raptors have right now is two-fold.

1) Video replay shows that when the ball first touches Ford’s hands … there is actually :0.04 seconds on the clock, not :0.05 seconds. So who started the clock early?!

2) The basket was ruled as ‘good’ on the floor by the refs. So how or why did they overturn their original call? Especially if the video evidence showed that the clock had started early?

The easiest answer for the officials - or the league - to offer up is “human error”. And that’s why the call and the outcome of the game will not be overturned. In fact, the refs are now claiming that Carlos Delfino’s pass to Ford was deflected and that’s why the clock was started early. Of course, that excuse is bogus because by that theory … only one-tenth of a second went off the clock between the deflection of the pass and Ford catching the ball with :0.04 seconds to go. That’s impossible. If the pass had been deflected, the clock would have expired before Ford even caught the ball. The game would have been over.

Human error had the clock stop with :0.05 seconds to go after Mike Bibby’s 3-ball tied the game … even though video evidence shows that the clock should have been stopped with :0.08 seconds to play.

Human error started the clock early, before TJ Ford’s tip-in / lay-in.

Human error cannot be protested under NBA rules.

Lost in all of this though … is that the game never should have gotten to this point.

The Raptors blew a 17-point lead late in the 3RD quarter. With less than two minutes to play, Toronto was up 91-74. But Atlanta ended the quarter on a 6-0 and carried momentum into the 4TH.

Now, after the Hawks erased the deficit (and Toronto didn’t get to the line ONCE in the final 7:30 minutes - despite the Hawks being in the penalty that entire time), let’s fast forward to the final seconds of the game …

With just over :11 seconds to play … Toronto has the ball on offense. After a missed shot, Carlos Delfino comes up with a HUGE offensive rebound to keep the possession alive for the Raptors. All he had to do with stop, hug the ball, and hold on for dear life. The Hawks would have fouled Delfino … sent him to the line … and given the Raptors a chance to build their 3 point lead up to 4 or 5.

Instead, Delfino tried to dribble out of the pack … the ball gets stolen … and Atlanta has life breathed into them. With :11 seconds to play they have the ball and they’re down by 3. The game should have been iced … but instead … we play on …

As Atlanta tried desperately to tie the game … they got THREE chances at a 3-ball.

Mike Bibby was open. He missed. But the Hawks got the rebound.

Joe Johnson got another look at a 3PT … but he missed as well. However, Atlanta was able to keep the possession alive AGAIN … when Jamario Moon tried tipping the rebound to himself instead of simply grabbing the ball and holding onto it! When Moon attempted to flick the ball to himself, it dribble off his fingertips and gave the ball back to the Hawks.

That’s when Mike Bibby became the hero. With :3.8 seconds to go Bibby got the ball and drained the now-infamous 3-pointer.

TJ Ford’s defense on Bibby was suspect at best. He had his head turned and he let Bibby get right by him. His “D” won’t be making any “How To” instructional videos anytime soon!

But the fact remains that the game never should have gotten to that point.

Say what you will about TJ’s defense or the final play of regulation and how the Raps got screwed … a team can’t blow a 17-point lead … and Delfino can’t dribble that ball out of the fray. That’s the most glaring miscue in my eyes.

Nonetheless, Toronto has to regroup and get focused for the Bobcats on Friday.

E. Smith
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