Courtney Lee will be forever crucified due to poor officiating [update- I stand corrected]

I don't stray from the Bulls too frequently, but this issue forces me to, because no one else seems to want to talk about it.

All over the internet people are getting on Courtney Lee. Comparing his miss to Nick Anderson's choke.  First, let's look at where he's shooting this "lay up" from.   His whole body is behind the backboard when he's releasing the ball.   That's not an easy shot folks.   Especially when you catch it in midair and the pass is behind you.

However, let's get past the fact that Lee missed the shot and move on to the fact that Pau Gasol's great help defense, which has been commented on several times, was in fact a goal tend.   This isn't the land of subjective as is the case with most blown calls.   This is objective.   He clearly hits the rim he clearly comes up through the net.  It's a goal tend.   There's no doubt.   There's no questioning it.  It is a goal tend.

Courtney Lee may have just had his most memorable moment in his career.   Blowing a chance for his team to win a game in the NBA finals, and the worst thing about that moment is that it's the NBA refs who've blown it for the Magic.   No one is discussing it. No where in the articles about the topic does the issue even come up except as a foot note saying that Orlando wanted a goal tend called.   All of the discussion is about how the Lakers have improved or are closing the door, or close games better.   Blah Blah Blah.  

The closed this game better because the refs missed a call.  Not a subjective one.   Not a "this team got more benefit of the doubt than that team" one.   An objective call.   If a guy's foot was on the three point line they'd review it and see that objectively it was or wasn't.  Pau's hand was in the rim, moving the net, touching the rim while the ball was on the backboard.  

Did that effect the shot?   Probably not, but we'll never know.   However it was a goal tend.   That much we do know.  It's not subject to debate.   It's not the Rajon Rondo flagrant foul that may have cost the Bulls the series.  The Magic did win this game.   They won it, but it just wasn't called that way.
-- Updated below --
As pointed out in the comment section below, I've learned something new, it's not a goaltending call merely to touch the rim, but the touching needs to alter the path of the ball.   That didn't appear to happen in this case.

So, apparently, we can fairly crucify Courtney Lee now.   Just kidding, I love Courtney Lee and feel quite bad for him.  He's a great kid whom I met down at Orlando Summer League covering the Bulls last year.  I think he carried the right attitude when asked about it and saying "me missing the shot didn't cause us to lose the game" or something to that effect.


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  • How can you complain about Pau Gasol's play but not mention Dwight Howard's goaltending play? Howard reached through the net and rim to block Gasol's shot. The timing may not have been as bad but that was a far worse missed call on that Howard goaltend. His hand literally went through the rim pushing the net up in the air and they missed that call. That actually altered the shot since he blocked it. That's a worse missed call since Pau Gasol didn't alter the shot at all. But I say they give the Magic that "goaltending" call and then give the Lakers their goaltending call and it's 90-90 going in to overtime where the Lakers clearly outplayed the Magic.

  • I think people are ignoring it because they probably agree it was a good no call. They let that play go because it didn't alter the shot. The refs said so much after the game. If he had shook the rim or touched the rim while the ball was on it they would have called it. Do you really want the game to end on goal tending call when the defender barely clipped the rim? Let them go to overtime and play it out. Most people agreed on that and that's why no one is complaining. You can't always follow the rules exactly because each circumstance is difference. Were you happy a few years ago when they suspended Amare for the Suns-Spurs series for crossing the line but then stepping back? If you agreed with Stern on that one then I guess we just have two different view points on how the game should be officiated.

  • I'm missing how this was an objective goaltending violation.

    The rule (
    Section I-A Player Shall Not:
    a. Touch the ball or the basket ring when the ball is using the basket ring as its lower base.
    EXCEPTION: If a player near his own basket has his hand legally in contact with the ball, it is not a violation if his contact with the ball continues after the ball enters the cylinder, or if, in such action, he touches the basket.
    b. Touch the ball when it is above the basket ring and within the imaginary cylinder.
    c. For goaltending to occur, the ball, in the judgment of the official, must have a chance to score.
    d. During a field goal attempt, touch a ball after it has touched any part of the backboard above ring level, whether the ball is considered on its upward or downward flight.
    e. During a field goal attempt, touch a ball after it has touched the backboard below the ring level and while the ball is on its upward flight.
    f. Trap the ball against the face of the backboard. (To be a trapped ball, three elements must exist simultaneously. The hand, the ball and the backboard must all occur at the same time. A batted ball against the backboard is not a trapped ball.)
    g. Touch any live ball from within the playing area that is on its downward flight with an opportunity to touch the basket ring. This is considered to be a "field goal attempt" or trying for a goal.
    h. Touch the ball at any time with a hand which is through the basket ring.
    i. Vibrate the rim or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce.

    I don't think it's that objective that Pau "caused the ball to make an unnatural bounce."

  • In reply to guest:

    Gasol hit the rim and caused the backboard to shake. The backboard can be seen moving on replays. This was significant, certainly altered the path of the ball, and should have been called goaltending.

  • In reply to guest:

    Wow. Really? Altered the path of the ball? I'm not seeing it... objectively

  • In reply to guest:

    Sorry, youtube embed didn't work.

  • In reply to guest:

    Good research. The ball was not altered and Pau did not "vibrate the rim or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce."

  • In reply to chace808:

    I disagree. From the replay angle from the other end of the court, one can see the backboard moving. As far as an unnatural bounce, the bounce that it took is always going to seem natural (unless severely distorted), because that is what one is looking at. The fact is that a small vibration in the backboard can cause a big shift in how far the ball glances off the backboard. I think it came much farther off the board, because the board was moving back towards center court at the instant which the ball hit. Extra movement in this direction would not seem unnatural. If one can see the backboard moving (however slightly) from the other end of the court, there is a lot of movement occurring. The original point of the article is still valid - the Magic were denied one of their chances to win this game, by basket interference. Maybe the shot would have missed anyway (I think it would have gone in), but we won't know now. Try experimenting with shooting at a backboard that is shaking (even a little bit), and you will see how the bounces are magnified. If the Red Wings can overcome a premature whistle against the Ducks, the Magic can still win this series, if they are the better team. I don't care who wins this series - it is just sad to see uneven officiating affecting the outcome. Maybe we should get rid of all basketball interference rules, and have goaltenders, like in hockey. Manute Bol can make a comeback!

  • In reply to chace808:

    One final point - maybe the backboard is shaking because Lee hit it as he finished his shot. If that is the case, then it was a good non-call. Does anyone have a replay angle that shows Lee contacting the backboard?

  • Yes. I looked at it again, and I think there is a bigger chance that Lee (rather than Gasol) caused the board to shake (by hitting it with his arm), so the referees probably made the correct decision.

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