Trailing 102-100 nearing the final minute of the Cleveland Cavaliers Game 4 victory against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James buried a three to put his team up. It also stood as the game winner in Cleveland’s 106-102 win that eliminated Indiana from the playoffs.
But it never should have counted.
In its Last Two Minute Report, the NBA ruled that James had moved his pivot foot before dribbling and eventually shooting and determined that he should have been called for travelling.
SportsCenter tweeted out video of the play, which corroborated the report.
The NBA's Last Two Minute Report says this go-ahead shot in Game 4 from LeBron shouldn't have counted.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 25, 2017
The report also determined that a similar infraction was missed on the Pacers’ Paul George on Indiana’s last possession. But George missed the potential game-tying three, nullifying the impact of the missed call.
The NBA has dealt with plenty of refereeing issues over the years. From that respect, the transparency created from these reports is helpful.
With that said, they don’t do anything to change the result of the game. Oftentimes, that only adds to the frustration of the missed call.
To be fair, there was more than a minute left in the game in question. So, even if LeBron had been called for travelling, there’s nothing to say that Cleveland wouldn’t have won anyway. Even if the Cavs did lose, they still would have been in complete control of the series.
Still, the acknowledgement from the NBA does nothing to comfort the Pacers or their fans.