The league today denied the Hawks’ protest of their Dec. 30 loss at Cleveland due to a shot clock error.
“From the time we filed our protest, we indicated that we would allow the process to run its course, and today, the commissioner’s office has reached a decision,” Hawks GM Rick Sund said in a statement. “We abide by the league’s decision and will have no further comment regarding this matter.”
At least there will be no real letdown for the Hawks. It seems no one in the organization really expected to get a replay of the final two minutes of that 106-101 defeat.
Probably some of that is because it’s rare for the league to overturn a game result (yes, I know it happened to the Hawks). There’s also the feeling, shared by lots of people who follow (or hate) the NBA, that the league would not make a ruling at the expense of one of its marquee teams (we are back to Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal’s Heat winning that protest of the Dec. 19, 2007 loss to the Hawks).
That’s not really based on real, hard evidence, just perceptions about the league’s decisions. Which of course is enough to get conspiracy theorists talking about fixes and favoritism. But just because there is no hard evidence to support a theory (please save your Tim Donaghy smack) doesn’t mean it’s not true. See how that works?
Anyway, for what it’s worth, NBA commish David Stern said in a statement that the failure of the shot clock to reset “did not have a clear impact on the game’s outcome and therefore did not justify the extraordinary remedy of granting the protest and overturning the game’s result.”
The Hawks disagreed. They led by a point when the clock failed to reset after they got a defensive rebound with 1:57 to play. That led them to rush their offensive possession, which led to a turnover, which led to Cleveland taking the lead. Also, the officials missed what would have been a Hawks backcourt violation if they’d been paying attention to the shot clock, and there also should have been a Hawks shot clock violation before their turnover. Woody protested, but lead official Ken Mauer shrugged.
(Aside: Considering this isn’t the only controversial call involving Mauer , maybe this is less about conspiracies and more about competency.)
So that was three timing errors in that Cavs-Hawks game. It didn’t matter. Hey, what did you expect, man? LeBron and Shaq play for Cleveland.