I’ve put up a fresh story with quotes from the locker room.
As you might imagine, Mike Woodson was pretty steamed.
His full press conference (questions approximated)
Q: What happened with the apparent shot clock malfunction?
A: I’m not going to comment on it at this time. We’re just going to file a protest without a doubt, let the league review it at the two-minute mark and then see what they think.
Q: What role did that play in the game?
A: We’ve got a one-point lead with the ball going the other way and we’re rushing to get a shot because the clock is not in our favor. You figure it out.
Q: How do you rate the team’s defense?
A: It was a great game. If you’re a fan or you’re watching it on TV, it was a great game tonight, both ways. Both teams fought, didn’t want to give an inch. Unfortunately, it had to come down this way, but as an organization, we have to do what’s right for our organization and our basketball team.
Q: Is it difficult to lose a game like this?
A: Sure it is. We’re playing hard, just like they are. It’s a [heck] of a game tonight. Both teams are fighting, wanting to win. It’s a shame it’s got to come down to that, but, hey, it’s what it is, and we’ll figure it out when the league reviews it.
My initial suspicion is that the league won’t force the teams to play the game over again. Here’s why. When David Stern overturned the Hawks’ overtime win over Miami in Dec. 2007 and called for a replay, he judged that there was “gross negligence” in the scoring table giving Shaquille O’Neal an extra foul.
It’s a lot harder to establish that what happened tonight was gross negligence. Clearly, it was a mistake and a bad one, but shot clock malfunctions happen from time to time. The game moves fast and I imagine it’s hard to be perfect on it.
When a player is called for a foul, the referee goes over the scorer’s table and tells the scorer the number of the player charged with the foul. If you mess that up – a matter of record keeping which is something that can be corrected after play has resumed – I think that’s a little different.
Suspicious timing? Sure. But let’s say for argument’s sake that the timekeeper was trying to help out Cleveland. Do you think he (or she) would think he could get away with something so obvious? I wouldn’t.
(Of course, the counter-argument is that, Well, he did get away with it, so, yes, he did think he could get away with it. And my answer to that is, I don’t know what happened with the officials. They wouldn’t give an explanation after the game to a pool reporter. I’m sitting next to ESPN reporter Chris Sheridan, who says that video replay can’t be used for shot clock malfunctions. So, one more reason why the protest may not go very far.)