First of all, I am opening a new thread because I figured people might avoid last night's postgame thread in the wake of what happened. There was quite a bit of "lively discussion" between myself, and other posters about the final shot of regulation by Amir Johnson. Myself, and another poster firmly stated that we believed it was LATE and should have been disallowed. Others felt differently, and wanted some photographic proof. This thread is my attempt at providing that proof.
Now let me say first of all, I was watching the game on FSIndiana, and they had several much better and crisper angles during the lengthy replay timeout. Unfortunately, stupid NBA League Pass Broadband (which I had to use to take these screenshots on my computer) was playing the Raptors feed... However, I was still able to get a few shots of some good angles, and hopefully you guys will see where I am going with this. But if anyone has the FSIndiana feed on your DVR, you will be able to see what I mean.
Secondly, I am NOT interested in debating whether or not the Pacers "Deserved" to lose this game because of mistakes we made, or things we SHOULD have done. This is simply a presentation and discussion of the ruling of this particular field goal.
Without further ado, I present to you the evidence of (another) game taken from the Pacers by the officials on a final play.
ANGLE 1: Opposite Baseline
Ok, so these first two screenshots are from the opposite baseline camera. Of the several angles shown, these are the least conclusive in my opinion, yet they were the ones that the announcers for the Raptors were pointing to as their concrete evidence of a good field goal. As you can see in both of these shots, which are just several frames apart, Amir Johnson appears to have his LEFT hand clear of the ball, but his right thumb and possible the "pad" of his palm still appears to be touching the ball. Again, this is the LEAST conclusive of the three angles. We cannot make a 100% definitive ruling based on this angle alone. Fortunately, we have...
ANGLE 2: Near Side Baseline
I am going to break these images down one by one.
In this first image we see Johnson with BOTH hands clearly still touching the ball. His shooting hand is clearly still supporting the ball from underneath. There are 0.1 seconds on the clock with which he has to get the ball out of his hands.
As you can see from the shot clock, the time is currently ticking down from 0.1 to 0.0. The game, at this exact moment in time, is OVER. We can see that Johnson has gotten his non-shooting hand clear of the ball, but his right hand, which had to "flick" forward to propel the shot towards the rim, is still in the middle of that motion. His thumb, several fingers and possibly a portion of the pad of his palm are still in contact with the ball as time expires.
To further drive home the evidence from the second photo, here is a shot from several frames later. His right wrist has now mostly completed its forward "flicking" motion to propel the ball to the rim. Even now, in this shot, it appears as though his index finger at the very least may still be in contact with the ball, several milliseconds AFTER his thumb and several fingers were clearly in contact with the ball.
This angle definitely shows evidence to support the shot being late. But if you still aren't convinced, here's the magic bullet.
ANGLE 3: Sideline
Once again, I'll break these down one at a time.
Alright, here is the first photo from this angle. Notice first and foremost that ALL the photos from this angle are already showing the basket "shot clock light" already bright red and illuminated. The game is over at this point. In this first picture, we can perhaps assume that Johnson's LEFT hand is still touching the ball, but we've already disproved that in the previous two series of photos. However, we know definitively based on those same first two angles that Johnson's RIGHT hand was at this very moment in time desperately trying to quickly finish its "flicking" shot motion. So here you see the clock EXPIRED and Johnson's "flick" has not yet occurred.
Several frames have elapsed, and we now see Johnson's RIGHT hand clearly behind his LEFT hand. He is mid-way through his already explained "flick" motion. His LEFT hand is clearly off the ball, while his right fingers are still in the process of giving the ball its final tiny bit of propulsion towards the rim. With his fingers still touching the ball, the game is now at this point most certainly over.
Alright, now we're getting somewhere. Several frames later we can see Johnson's LEFT hand now fully off the ball. His RIGHT index and middle finger have given the ball their last push towards the rim, but the argument could STILL be made that his ring finger and pinkie finger are still dangerously close to being in contact with the ball, having already established that he was touching it a couple milliseconds ago. Further evidence that this game is REALLY over at this point, 90-88 Pacers.
FINALLY! A couple frames later and we can at last declare with certainty that Amir Johnson has released the shot. At this point, the game clock has been at 0.0 with red lights on for slightly longer than 0.1, closer to 0.15 or 0.175 in all actuality.
SO there you have it folks. Is this overkill? Yes. Is it beating a dead horse? Yep. Do I expect for the NBA to come look at this and suddenly reward us with our deserved 'W'. Fat chance!
However, I do hope that instead of everyone doing nothing but complain about our teams mistakes and things we SHOULD have done, that we may perhaps actually give some validity to the point that sometimes you really DO get a game stolen from you by a blown call. Remember the Denver game? The NBA had to come out and admit fault that time. This should be no different, although I would frankly be shocked if they did.
We made some mentally and physically tired plays down the stretch of both regulation and overtime. We let this game get away from us when we should have won it going away by double figures. I do not dispute this point. However, despite all of that, when it came down to the end of regulation, the Pacers were winning the game 90-88. Unfortunately, the referees made the cowardly decision that the call was just TOO close, and "aw heck, just let them play 5 more minutes." Some people agree that perhaps that was the "right" way to officiate in that situation. I disagree completely. The NBA rulebook says that if time expires and a player has not fully released the ball at that precise moment, the shot is disallowed. In this situation, NOT enforcing that rule directly lead to the Pacers not instantly claiming a win, and instead the events of overtime took place and we lost.
Had that rule been enforced by the officials last night, things would have ended OFFICIALLY the way that they should have.