NBA okays instant replay for last-second shots

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002


-- The NBA will make sure next season that last-second shots really do beat the buzzer.

The league on Monday approved the use of instant replay beginning with the 2002-2003 preseason, just months after some controversial last-second calls in the playoffs.

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It comes too late for Baron Davis, but Reggie Miller and Samaki Walker benefited from the wait.

Officials can also determine if a player was fouled before time expired (but not whether the foul call was correct or not) and if a 24-second shot clock or eight-second backcourt violation occurred before a shot.

Any last-second shot would be reviewed and coaches will not be able to prompt them.

The league's Competition Committee recommended the move to the Board of Governors last week, and the board approved the measure by an ''overwhelming majority'' Monday. At least three-quarters, or 22 of 29 members, needed to vote in favor of the rule for the league to adopt it.

Several last-second shots last season helped precipitate the move.

''I don't think there's any one event that drove this decision,'' Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president for basketball operations said. ''There have been a number of instances where, quite frankly, for any human being it would have been impossible to determine whether the shot got off in time.''

In an April playoff game between the Hornets and the Orlando Magic, Charlotte's Davis banked in a shot that clearly beat the buzzer after the Hornets inbounded with 0.7 seconds left and the score tied.

Referee Bernie Fryer waved the shot off while it was in the air, saying the officiating crew had discussed beforehand that no player could catch, turn and shoot in that amount of time.

The Hornets went on to beat the Magic in overtime, but the episode showed that the league needed to address its policies regarding rulings on last-second shots.

In the Nets-Pacers series, Indiana's Miller forced overtime in Game 5 with a shot that left his hand after the clock reached 0.0 seconds.

And in Game 4 of the Kings-Lakers series, a 30-footer by Los Angeles' Walker to end the first half was allowed even though it left his hand too late.

''The officials themselves are very much in favor of an instant-replay system,'' Jackson said. ''The overwhelming majority of officials are in favor of the system.''

All of those playoff shots would have been reviewable events under the new rule, but replay will not be used to determine whether the clock started on time.

This was an issue in March, when Cleveland's Lamond Murray made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers a 100-97 win over New Jersey.

There were only 0.5 seconds left on the clock when Andre Miller inbounded the ball, and Murray was able to catch it and shoot it before the buzzer sounded.

At the time, Nets coach Byron Scott called for the league to use instant replay.

''That is not a reviewable matter, as to whether the clock began on time,'' Jackson said.

For any reviewable call to be overturned, officials will need to have ''clear and conclusive'' evidence. The league said the reviews will take two minutes or less.

The officials will use video provided by the game's telecast. Jackson acknowledged the possibility of inconsistencies if a game is not televised.

''We're mulling that over as we speak,'' Jackson said. ''Maybe we can't review during those games. What we could do is use the in-arena feed.''

The replay rule will be ''reviewed on an ongoing basis,'' Jackson said, with the first meeting on it likely to take place at the All-Star game in February. The Associated Press