Here we are, nearly four days removed from Friday night's scorer's table debacle in Atlanta. Hello, NBA? Anybody home?
Perhaps the long weekend in the U.S. has something to do with the league's slow response, but as long as the league delays, it amounts to a p.r. disaster. If the checks and balances in place to keep a proper score fail, and during a close game as well, and in a manner in which the game's entire complexion is changed, what do you do?
So far, the NBA's answer is: nothing.
Here's the relevant rule, which would indicate that it's over:
Rule No. 2, section VI (d): Errors which occur in the fourth period or overtime(s) must be discovered and rectified prior to the end of the period.
Replaying the final 4 1/2 minutes next time the Raptors are in Atlanta on Feb. 2, given that the game turned on the missing basket, would be the fairest course. And by then, we can all chip in and buy Sam Mitchell a ticket to the game.
But it's just about a given that the Hawks will be fined. When is the question.
UPDATE: E-mail from the NBA arrived at 3:47 p.m., and I apologize for the slow reply but I was caught in a meeting: According to the league, the review of the play in question and Friday's game is complete: "A mistake was obviously made but the score will remain as is," said an NBA spokesman in an email. I'll try and get more on this and post it here in an update.
UPDATE II: NBA spokesman Tim Frank said no fine would be assessed to the Hawks, whose scorers' table made the error (meantime, the NBA-responsibility referees crew missed it, and so did the Raptors, who can answer only to themselves for their ignorance - total breakdown at all corners) in missing T.J. Ford's basket with 4+ minutes to go, which the NBA agrees was the pivotal play. Frank: "Our philosophy has been once they come off the floor, the score stands ... it's obviously not something you want to see happen."
My take: Either the Hawks have been fined but no one's saying, or the blame can be distributed so evenly by the NBA's basketball operations department (who did the review) that they figured hell, just go with the score.
One thing, though: The score was wrong, and it impacted on the result. Bad call, NBA.
A W-L swing, and it's been sloughed off. Just wondering: How would this have played out if it had have involved New York, say, or the Lakers?