Stop Whining, Orlando, You Lost Fair and Square

The people of Orlando think they were robbed. Not just because they have to live on the most humid spot on the planet, but because of the end of game two against the Lakers. By now you’ve seen the highlight at least 100 times — Hedo Turkoglu makes a perfect ally-oop pass with just 0.6 second that rookie Courtney Lee did not finish.

But did you notice that Pau Gasol’s hand touched the rim and net as he went to block the shot?

The good people of Orlando noticed, and they are crying foul. Actually, they are crying goaltending. They think Gasol should have been called for it, the basket counted and the series should be 1-1 rather than 2-0 Lakers heading into game three.

Those fans are wrong.

First, they are wrong on the rules. The NBA Rulebook says to call goaltending if defensive player touches the ball on its downward arc or shakes the rim and basket to the extent that the ball cannot land inside it. Basically, you have to alter the chance of the ball going in the basket. Gasol’s inadvertent touch did not do that. Lee simply missed the shot (and really should not be blamed for that, he had to make a touch shot while flying through the air with a 7-footer closing in on him.)

Second, if it were goaltending it would really would only balance out the karmic scales. Back in the first quarter Dwight Howard had a blatant goaltend on an Pau Gasol dunk where Howard reached up through the basket and net to make the block. The argument out of Orlando is that with the Lee shot is different because the game was on the line, but last time I checked the points in the first quarter count the same as points in the fourth. Think of it as a little instant Karma.

Third, if you don’t want the game to come down to the refs on a last second play, then play better earlier so it’s not in their hands. It’s exactly what your high school coach preached to you when the refs were screwing your team and you wanted to yell. Tell your guards not to go 6 of 26 from the floor (as they did in game one). Don’t turn the ball over 20 times. Those are the reasons you lost.

Game two is over, and Orlando fans need to move on. Focus on game three, because if you don’t and you lose this one it won’t matter what the refs call.

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