Clippers-Suns end-of-game reviews took a while, but they need to be getting the calls well
Always get the call correctly.
For people who are complaining about how long the reviews took last night at the end of the game, I get it. Thirty minutes in real time was a bit too much for 90 seconds of basketball.
But the point is, these games are too important not to hit those late calls. There are heirlooms, jobs, and tens of millions of dollars at stake for those involved. The last thing you want is someone’s career changed forever on a bad call.
And when we look at this objectively, it’s probably an outlier. I don’t see many other last few minutes in the league taking that long with an instant replay – because it doesn’t happen that often.
So it doesn’t have to be that everyone is bothered by what happened last night. NBA rules even give a suggested time frame for how long these reviews should take. The referees have the option of extending this window if deemed necessary, as was the case last night.
From the rulebook:
Replay reviews should be completed within two minutes. Notwithstanding this general rule, discretion will be used to extend the review period as reasonably necessary in unusual circumstances, such as when play could lead to an expulsion (e.g. gross fouls / penalty 2), technical issues arise with the proofreading system, the proofreading result requires multiple proofreading angles or additional angles are imminent. In addition, reruns of Player Altercations must be completed within a period of time reasonably necessary, even if that period exceeds two minutes.
Last night was a legendary game with an iconic ending. In the long run, no one is going to focus on the length of the criticisms in the final few minutes when thinking about this game. If anything, the reviews added a bit more suspense. And I don’t want to hear anything about how critics spoil the flow of play when the NBA allows players to intentionally foul to stop quick breaks and force Ben Simmons, for example, to shoot 20 free throws per game.
If we really want to have a conversation about how the game unfolds, let’s not waste it on this rare circumstance involving replay. People understand that the last two minutes of a close game take longer because of all of the coaches’ strategic moves. Do not overreact to an event that is unlikely to happen again.
Most reviews don’t take all night, and even if they take 30 seconds to a minute longer, it’s better to receive the call correctly than to change the outcome of the game with a bad decision.