Big, huge, enormous props to Chris Paul, who cemented his place as one of the league’s best and most clutch players last night. With Game 2 between the Clippers and Grizzlies tied at 91, Paul drove to his right and hit a tough bank shot with 0.1 seconds left, effectively winning the game. And that’s great, good for him. If only he hadn’t carried the ball and committed an offensive foul on the way to the hoop — I’d be a lot more impressed.
This isn’t the my first time viewing an NBA game, so I’m aware that carrying the ball [Wikipedia definition: It occurs when the dribbling player continues to dribble after allowing the ball to come to rest in one or both hands] is a rarely-called violation. I’m also aware that most refs let their whistles drop in the final possessions of games, so as not to let a foul be the deciding factor.
But, as we look at this slow motion capture of the final play, can we all not plainly see Chris Paul carrying the ball (it occurs around the :12 mark) and pushing off Tony Allen with a stiff arm — a play that would be called an offensive foul during most other situations?
(Side note: Man, this Phantom camera the NBA uses is awesome)
Here’s the play in real-time:
The carry is the most egregious, and is clearly what throws Allen off the play and gives Paul room to operate. I don’t think this bucket happens without the carry or the stiff arm.
I don’t take anything away from Paul here. He is still clutch. He is still great at basketball. And he played within the system that was granted to him, and took advantage of cautious or perhaps blind referees. But I can’t stop looking at this drive and thinking, if there was any kind of consistency in the league’s violation-calling, this would be a much different series. This would be a much different league.