In a 95-93 loss to the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night, Kristaps Porzingis almost brought the hype around his rookie season to a new level.
Trailing the Charlotte Hornets by two, with .6 seconds left, the Knicks inbounded the ball to Porzingis for a last-second, desperation three.
And he nailed it.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, replay showed Porzingis clearly let go of the ball after time had already expired. The shot wouldn’t count, and the Knicks lost the game.
However, afterward, there was a bit of controversy, as further replay showed the Knicks might not have gotten the proper amount of time on the clock for their final possession.
Porzingis’ shot followed a game-winning layup from the Hornets’ Cody Zeller. Here’s the layup:
As the Knicks called timeout after the layup, the clock showed there were .4 seconds left. During the timeout, the refs put two-tenths of a second back on the clock, accounting for the elapsed time between the ball going through the basket and the clock actually stopping.
However, the clock is supposed to stop as soon as the ball goes through the net. A closer look shows that there should have been .8 seconds left on the clock for the Knicks as opposed to .6.
In a shot as close as Porzingis’, those .2 seconds can make a huge difference. Just ask Knicks coach Derek Fisher.
A closer look at where the ball was on Porzingis’ finger-tips shows just how close the shot was to counting.
This is not to say the Knicks were robbed by officials. The Knicks actually got a very favourable non-ruling the night before against the Raptors, when refs missed Carmelo Anthony step out of bounds on a crucial play.
More than a clock error, this shows the NBA’s replay rules still have a long way to go. Against the Raptors, Anthony’s clear transgression was never reviewed, despite the Raptors freaking out about it. On Wednesday night, Porzingis’ shot reviewed — as a potential game-winner should be — but the review for the remaining time on the clock following Zeller’s shot wasn’t.
There’s some inconsistency still, despite the NBA making several changes to its review rules, from increasing the types of plays that can be reviewed, to having referees in their replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Several other factors went wrong for the Knicks on this ending. Not only did they give up a game-winning layup, the pass to Porzingis was too low, meaning he had to reach down and gather himself before firing away. Similarly, there’s a chance that with more time on the clock, the defence plays the situation differently, or Porzingis just misses the shot.
However, it’s a shame when hypotheticals such as these play a part in what could have been a huge play if there weren’t possible technical errors.
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