Wednesday, December 31, 2008

They Don't Have Power Plays In Basketball . . . Right?


I've gone through the rulebook and the ref's guidebook (both available on as PDF files, invaluable ammunition in a bar fight), and none of the scenarios listed in the ref's guidebook cover what to do if a team has an extra man on the court and the refs don't notice it before that team scores.

Okay, so we lack precedent. In the spirit of fair play, what is the correct ruling? What's the right thing to do?

1. Basket is discounted and the points are taken off that team's score.

2. A technical foul is assessed to the team. Opposing team shoots uncontested free throw and retains posession.

3. Resume play.

According to the officials present -- who according to the letter of NBA rules have the final say -- the basket was scored before the error was caught and the basket counts.

Bullshit, say I. That troika of grayshirts should be suspended and fined and locked in a room alone with Kevin Garnett for ten minutes. I'm sure Doc Rivers will agree to have him muzzled; you'll probably survive. That field goal came about where one team posessed an unfair advantage over the other due to a clear and unquestionable violation of the rules; ergo, the basket should not count.

If a contest isn't fair, it's meaningless. It stops being a sport and starts being playacting. Having refs when all you want to do is watch ten guys duke it out -- and all the ten guys want to do is play -- is a pain. Why should the players and fans tolerate a league that can't make sure everyone plays fair?

Another day in NBA infamy.

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