The Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors provided an entertaining battle between two evenly matched teams. With neither team being able to gain a significant lead and also setting a NBA high for the season in lead changes with 25. Yet, the NBA found itself at the center of another controversy involving officiating and that was not something the NBA needed.
In the closing seconds of the game, NBA referees failed to call a kickball violation on George Hill. Monta Ellis had been isolated one-on-one with Hill defending him. Ellis was about to make his move by using a crossover to gain separation from Hill, yet as Ellis crossed over Hill stuck his foot out and kicked the ball up to himself. As a result of the play Hill was able to race down the court for an easy layup with Stephen Curry fouling Hill for a three point play.
It is important to notate what the NBA rules state for a kickball to be called and it must follow this criteria “kicking the ball or striking it with any part of the leg is a violation when it is an intentional act. The ball accidentally striking the foot, the leg or fist is not a violation.”
What is questionable about the play is why replay was not used in the closing seconds of the game? Since it was a one-on-one situation involving Hill and Ellis what were the referees looking at? Another question would be If Ellis had gotten by Hill and he had stuck his foot out like he did and Ellis had tripped would there have been a foul called?
By NBA rules the action by Hill was not accidental so a kick ball should have been called. If the basketball had made accidental contact with his foot it would not have popped up directly to him. The actions of Hill were intentional and it was a ball that was blatantly kicked and a whistle should have been blown with the Warriors having a chance for the win instead of staring at a three point deficit with 1.8 second left.
This was a game that should have either ended up going to overtime or with the Warriors pulling out the dramatic win. While the game did end in dramatic fashion it was a result of the NBA referees not doing their job as a kickball violation is not a difficult call to make!
Here’s a link to the video of the play.
Thanks to Thehoopscene for the video.