That Half-Court Heave

Okay, so from the beginning, I have to say that I watched the replay of Devin Harris' shot tonight about 15 times, but I have not seen the full replay including the starting of the clock on the inbounds with 1.8 seconds left.

But here's what's coming from the Izod Center, the referees, the Sixers, etc.


If you didn't watch the game: Andre Iguodala made 1 of 2 free throws with 1.8 seconds left. It seemed, at this time, that Iguodala needed to only make one free throw to give the Sixers the win because the New Jersey Nets were out of timeouts and would be inbounding underneath the Sixers hoop, needing to go the length of the court in 1.8 seconds. Iguodala missed the first, so the game remained tied at 95-95. Iguodala made the second, for a 96-95 lead. Immediately, the Nets inbounded to Devin Harris, who torched the Sixers tonight for 39 points, but in this moment had only 36 points. Harris caught on the left sideline, took a dribble with Iguodala sliding in front of him near halfcourt. Iguodala appeared to knock the ball out of Harris' hands. The ball appeared to bounce off Iguodala and back into Harris' hands. Harris immedaitely planted his right foot, a step before half court, and launched the ball towards the rim. The buzzer went off en route. The ball went in. After the ball went in, referee Violet Palmer waived her arms, signaling that Harris released the shot after the buzzer. So, at the buzzer, the Sixers had won, 96-95.

Or, if you prefer video, let me aid the process: Devin Harris breakin' hearts a la Ray Allen.

At this time, the three referees huddled at halfcourt. Here's what they said happened:

From Derrick Stafford, the lead official: "Yes, we came together to see if we all pretty much had the same thing or if we have anything to overrule the call on the floor ... and we did not. So, at that point with zeros on the clock, we continued to go to replay."

At this point, the referees along with most of the players and the coaches formed a pack at the halfcourt scorer's table, presumably watching -- again and again -- the replay of Harris' release. The referees watched the replay -- needing clear, conclusive evidence to overturn Palmer's call -- for 2 minutes, 30 seconds. After that, the three referees huddled, spoke, and then, a second later, Stafford thrust his arms in the air, signaling that Harris' three-pointer was now considered good and the Nets had won the game, 98-96.

Stafford said the decision was unanimous to overturn the call. Let's keep in mind, that the referees were not evaluating when the clock started at 1.8 seconds. The only thing they were reviewing was whether Harris released the ball before the buzzer. Stafford also said that when they can't see the actual clock on the replay, they will go by the red stripe which is installed on the scorer's table, and turns red at the buzzer. There is a similar one above the basket. It does appear that Harris released the ball with about 0.001 seconds remaining.

Immediately after the game, in the Sixers locker room, they were still sitting in their uniforms debating what had just happened. Again, as I said, I have not seen the replay of when Harris first caught the in-bounds pass, but I've heard from a few people, including Iguodala and Andre Miller, saying that the clock did not immediately start running when Harris caught the ball. I'm not sure what length the delay was, but I'm hearing at least three-tenths of a second.

Here's what Iguodala said: 

"I thought a lot was going on for 1.8 seconds. I thought for sure it wasn't good and I still don't think it was good."

Did Harris travel before his shot? It seemed he bobbled the ball, then took a step. Sixers coach Tony DiLeo said that the referees told him it wasn't a travel because Harris lost it, it bounced off Iguodala, and Harris was allowed to regain possession.

But Iguodala said: "That was another issue too. There were so many things that went on in a small amount of time for that shot to be good. It seems like that's the way the season's been going. We did what we needed to do tonight."

Here's what Andre Miller said: 

"It was no good, we all know that. But you can't sit here and argue it because of the consequences. It's over now. I was watching it on the court. It was a half court shot; by rule if it's not conclusive you can't overturn the call. Violet called it no good, and by the video he didn't get the ball off in time, so I don't know how you can overturn a call that was called no good, plain and simple."

"The game was there and it was pretty much taken from us."

The Sixers, through spokesman Mike Preston, said that they will be in touch with the league regarding the final 1.8 seconds.

Tonight's loss was the fourth straight for the Sixers, who have not won since the All-Star break. They also missed 14 free throws tonight.