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Suns-Clippers classic marred by endless NBA replay reviews in final two minutes

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As the voice of the Dallas Mavericks since 2005, Chuck Cooperstein has called play-by-game for approximately 1,430 professional basketball games. Which, if you add them all up, probably took only slightly less time to complete than the last two minutes of the Suns-Clippers playoff game on Tuesday night.

If the four timeouts taken during the final 120 seconds of the Suns’ victory didn’t lead to him falling asleep, the five replay checks maybe did. And if he was among Sandman’s victims during all that downtime, he missed an epic finish in a 104-103 classic that presented the Suns with a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Western Conference Finals. .

The game that started just after 9pm EDT ended just before midnight. That’s almost enough time to play a college football game.

“It’s a bad thing,” Cooperstein told Sporting News.

The NBA has tried to address the length of its final situations in recent years, adjusting the timeouts available in that period from three for each team in the final two minutes to two for each team in the final three minutes beginning the season. 2017-18. . In a close game, it’s still four long stops when the action gets more intense. But it’s probably as far as the league can go and still allow teams to strategize well.

The real problem now is replay review.

MORE: Suns Run Perfect Game To Win Games | Paul George misses crucial free throws

And the problems with replay review run deep.

1. The type of plays considered. One of the troublesome replay reviews in the Suns-Clippers game occurred with 9.3 seconds remaining, when Clippers defensive ace Patrick Beverly dropped the ball as Suns star Devin Booker dribbled down the right sideline, and the officers granted possession to Phoenix. Beverly immediately asserted that the umpires should review the play, and they did.

After a loooong delay, the umpires came back and reversed the call. In fact, when Beverly hit Booker’s ball, the last contact was with Booker’s hand.

But for as long as the NBA has been in business, since 1949, that possession would have logically been presented to the Suns. We are talking about a common scenario throughout more than 100,000 games over 72 years. Because the only reason it went out of bounds was Beverly’s action, and her action did not cause the ball to deviate from Booker’s knee or foot, but instead caused the ball to go out of his hand and out of limits.

“What makes absolutely no sense is that outside of the last two minutes of the game, that would never have been required of the Clippers. That would have been Phoenix’s ball, “Cooperstein said. “There has to be some common sense allowed in officiating. And that, there, does not make common sense.

“Since Naismith placed the basket of peaches, we are officiating the game in a way. Now we are going to officiate it in another way. “

2. The repeating apparatus. The NBA has a replay center to help game officials provide the ideal camera angles as quickly as possible. Former gaming official Jason Phillips heads that department at its headquarters in New Jersey. The team manager sees the replay in question and can ask his fellow referees for help. “And there is a repeat officer who is supposed to advise and help give them another set of eyes,” Cooperstein said.

It’s several different voices or points of view to consider, and on a difficult call, that can delay a return to the game.

“To me, it seems like they want everyone to get involved,” Cooperstein said. “It is quite a production that seems completely exaggerated.”

3. The de facto waiting time. Because there is no rule against players gathering around their coaches for instruction during a replay review, coaches will take advantage of each of these opportunities to strategize. That is not only contradictory, and sometimes unfair for a team that has waiting times available when the opposition has spent their allowance, but leads to a delay in resuming play once the review is complete.

Cooperstein credits the Indiana Pacers’ voice, Mark Boyle, with the suggestion that the crew chief be responsible for vetting replays, while the other two officials are tasked with ensuring that each team gathers away from their respective banks and coaches. Then, when a call is made, the resumption of the game is immediate.

If you don’t think that’s a factor, consider that Booker’s out-of-bounds play review began at 11:45 pm. 9.3 seconds left. After the ball was drilled, Clippers forward Paul George was immediately fouled. He missed two free throws. The Suns rebounded and called time. Outside of that break, the Suns made a play that resulted in a missed three-pointer by Mikal Bridges that was thrown with 3.3 seconds to go and knocked out of bounds by Los Angeles with .9 seconds to go. At 11:52 pm, the team started another review to make sure the correct team received the ball.

It took seven minutes to play 8.4 seconds of basketball.

“The NBA, I mean the average replay length is about 40 seconds, which is fine,” Cooperstein said. Stay up to that standard. If you can’t decide, let’s go ahead and move on.

“On that band play, there is enough containment on both sides that, at that point, you have to go with the call on the court. And the initial call was to Phoenix.

“I am a fan of repetition. I really am. I absolutely believe that it has its place. But: he has his place, as opposed to being the ultimate Big Brother, which in many ways he has become because those in charge of refereeing the game are terrified of making a mistake. So they just think, okay, this will get us out of a tight spot. There are enough really good officials in that league who know what they’re doing and don’t need help. “

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