Finals needed this call to be made
June 14, 2007
The conclusion to Game 3 of the NBA Finals created controversy in many different ways.
In case you missed it, with seconds remaining and Cleveland trailing by three points, the ball was inbounded to Lebron James. As James was preparing to release a much-needed three-point shot, San Antonio’s Bruce Bowen hit Lebron’s arm and grabbed his jersey. Since James was intending to shoot the ball, and factoring in the NBA’s rule about continuation fouls, the result should have had Lebron attempting three free throws with the opportunity to tie the game. Instead, no foul was called and San Antonio took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
It was quite obvious watching on television that Bowen was trying to foul Lebron, and that he had succeeded in doing so. Apparently the referees on the court all just missed the call. It’s too bad because Cleveland possibly could have won the game in overtime and cut the Spurs’ lead in the Finals to 2-1. Considering how ugly and low-scoring the series had been up until that point, and that the television ratings were the worst ever, it could have given the Finals a breath of life. As it turned out, it killed what suspense there was left.
It should also be noted that the controversial ending had a profound effect on those who wagered on the contest. The point spread was Cleveland +1 1/2 points. Had Lebron made all three free throws, handicappers would have had to endure another five minutes of play in overtime in order to determine a money line winner. Had James made two out of three to finish the scoring, the Cavaliers would have covered the spread. If King James made one out of three, the Cavs would have covered the half-time line. Lebron went seven out of eight from the charity stripe in the three-point loss.
One final controversial event occurred right at the buzzer. As the horn sounded, teammate Zydraunas Ilgauskas corralled James’ missed three-pointer and threw up a shot that went in. Although the shot sounded like it came slightly after the horn, no visual evidence from ABC supported that theory. Since it had no effect on the outcome of the game, the network had no reason to show a slow-motion replay. But it would have been nice to see for sure that Cleveland lost by three points, and not by only one.
Finals – Going into last night, the only question left to answer was how many games it would take the Spurs to seal the deal. My prediction was for a six-game series, but I expected Cleveland to win Games 3 and 5. With their Game 3 loss, the Cavaliers needed to win two in a row to send things back to San Antonio. It didn’t look good.
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The College World Series begins this morning at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. Four teams return from last year’s tournament – defending champion Oregon State, runner-up North Carolina, the highest remaining seed Rice, and CWS regular Cal State-Fullerton.
This year in the regionals and super-regionals Rice, Arizona State and Mississippi State played the minimum five games. Teams that won on the road in regionals were Oregon State, Fullerton, Mississippi State and Louisville.
Prediction: This is always a wide-open tournament, but I’ll pick and root for UC-Irvine. Although this is their first-ever CWS, the Anteaters won their regional and super-regional both on the road and in the minimum five games. At 6 to 1, they have good odds, as does Mississippi State at 12 to 1 in local sports books.
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