Instant replay has had a rough week in the NBA. On Christmas day we got the no-call fiasco in Golden State with the Warriors and Cavaliers. Tonight, Giannis Antetokounmpo beat the Thunder on a game-winning drive where he clearly stepped out of bounds.
If we zoom in, we can clearly see Antetokounmpo going out of bounds as he takes the baseline on a drive.
um how did the referee not see giannis step out of bounds on this game-winning drive
We’ve seen this happen before. Last season, the Wizards beat the Trail Blazers on a game-winning shot by Markieff Morris where he stepped out of bounds.
That night, Rodney Mott addressed a pool reporter at the game. Here was the explanation.
Q: Why did you not review Washington’s final possession?
Mott: “That out of bounds is not a reviewable matter. It’s not a trigger.”
Here was the official explanation from Derrick Stafford.
It’s pretty much exactly what Mott said last season. Since there was no “trigger” on the play, there’s no call that can be reviewed. Per the league’s guidelines, here’s what constitutes a trigger on out of bounds plays:
Referees can only initiate a review on a called out-of-bounds play (for example, not one where an out-of-bounds might have occurred) and only those involving doubt as to which player caused the ball to go out (not those, for example, where a player stepped on the line).
In addition to determining which player caused the ball to go out-of-bounds, referees also look to confirm whether:
The game clock expired before the ball went out-of-bounds or the amount of time to put on the clock,
A 24-second violation occurred before the ball went out-of-bounds,
An 8-second backcourt violation occurred before the ball went out of bounds, or
Any unsportsmanlike acts or unnecessary contact occurred.
This stinks for the Thunder. That’s likely going to be the explanation given to them on a game they really should have won. That’s the rule, though, so they’ll have to take this tough loss and move on.