The final ten seconds of Tuesday night's Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat NBA game resembled all of the teams' previous 2013-14 match-ups against each other. Prior to last night's contest, the Nets and Heat had squared-off against each other three times, with the Nets emerging victorious by one point in two of the victories and narrowly escaping in double-overtime in the third.
With the Heat down one point, the clock winding down, and the ball in "King James's" hands, however, Miami was sure they were going to finally escape with a victory last night. Except, they didn't.
James dribbled down the center of the court, found a streaking Rashard Lewis, received a return pass, and went to the basket strong, with all intentions of trying his best to shatter the backboard and bring home the W. Standing in his way, though, was Brooklyn's rookie center, Mason Plumlee.
"It was a foul. I thought I should have been going to the line for two," opined a more-than-frustrated James. "He grabbed my right hand. I mean, he didn't do it on purpose, but he got my right hand. And, you know, the ball went off the rim and went back. You get all ball, the ball's gonna go straight down. You know, so, but I mean, what are you gonna do about it?"
"It only mattered if three people (the officials) thought it was a foul, and they didn’t think it was, so we win." -- Plumlee #Nets
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) April 9, 2014
So, who is right? LeBron or Plumlee and the referees?
According to the NBA, "The hand is considered 'part of the ball' when it is in contact with the ball and contact with a players hand when it is in contact with the ball is not a foul."
Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Per the NBA rules, the play looks simple enough. Based on LeBron's reaction, however, one would think a terrible atrocity had occurred:
With the win, Brooklyn is 33-13 since the beginning of the 2014 calendar year, giving the Nets the best record in the East over that period of time. In comparison, the Miami Heat are 29-17 and the Pacers are 28-20 following one of the best starts by a team in NBA history.
Understanding that Brooklyn is on a roll and just completed a season sweep of the Heat, NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager asked LeBron an apt question: "Are they [the Nets] your biggest challenge in the East?"
A question to which LeBron scoffed at before stating, “Get outta here, Craig... Next question.”
With the Pacers reeling down the stretch headed into the playoffs and with Brooklyn playing its best basketball yet, perhaps King James should pay a bit more attention to the happenings of the kingdom. After all, Robb Stark obviously did not perceive House Frey as a threat, and we all know the result of that...