VIDEO: The Fumble
In a game between the NBA’s Oklahoma Thunder and Houston Rockets, DJ Augustin took off on a fast break and got the ball into his hands just past the half line. After performing just one dribble, he took flight toward the basket. He didn’t make it but he was rewarded with two points on a goaltending call by the official. Was it goaltending or wasn’t it? Who really cares. A man who only takes one dribble after half and then makes it from within the depths of three point land all the way to the rim deserves to get something out of it. That is, unless you bring up the pesky little fact that he took a minimum of 6 steps after said dribble to accomplish this feat. You can almost understand why it wasn’t called. I mean usually a player will accidentally sneak one extra step and for the artistry of the game I think that’s fine. Some of the stunts these athletes pull off require a little extra space and time. The wow factor is worth the rule bending now and then. I mean, how else are they supposed to get a decent shot at the peach basket? But Augsutin was just running straight and kept on running. He blatantly headed to the rim and dared someone to call him on it. I’m sure the official was immensely confused because surely no one would try to take that many steps unless they were sure they were allowed. He would have had doubts. Especially when a player is quietly and repeatedly whispering “this isn’t the call you’re looking for” as he runs by. The ref quickly regained his confidence when a more routine goaltending call was immediately presented to him. I’ll call that! Make it look like I’m still in control.
After the play Houston’s Ty Lawson looked toward the official and sheepishly attempted to signal for a travelling call, but you can see he was just as baffled. If there is a tight call a player will be more animated in the argument because they know there’s a window of doubt and you really want to be convincing against someone who has a potential point. Lawson was pretty shy here though because it was one of those things where it was so obvious to you, but if it was really as obvious as you saw it and NO ONE else saw it that way, you might start to doubt your own sanity. He just took 6 steps! Turnover! Wait, goaltending. But he took 6 steps! Surely someone saw him take 6 steps. Did he really just take 6 steps? No one else is saying anything. Maybe I should say something. I’ll just ask. Signal. No? He’s ignoring me. I’ll ask one more time. Signal. Coach, I think I need to lie down.
Verdict: comically blown call.