The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas, 111-106. The Clippers' comeback win was clinched in the final seconds when Patrick Beverley stripped LeBron James during a jumpshot. The ball went out of bounds and the initial call on the floor was Lakers' ball, but instant replay clearly showed the ball touched LeBron last.
As the play was reviewed, a surprising number of people decided to rewrite the rules. It started at the very top with ABC's lead play-by-play guy Mike Breen admitting the ball went off James, but thinking the call wouldn't be overturned because "it was Beverley's action that caused it to go out."
Breen not knowing this rule might be the most troubling thing about this, but thankfully, ESPN rules expert Steve Javie was there to shut it down. Javie explained that "cause" has nothing to do with anything and as is the case at every level of basketball, all that matters is who touched the ball last.
Still, this was not good enough for many on Twitter. Including people who get paid to cover basketball.
Like, the ball touched LeBron last. It was off him. This is not some new rule. This is how we've always done things. This isn't even people disagreeing with what they saw. This is people who don't like result, so they want the process to be changed.
In the grand scheme of things, what is the point of instant replay? Good old human error would have given the ball to the Lakers because of "common sense" If we can't all at least accept when instant replay does exactly what it is meant to do - get the call right - then why have it at all? The replay was quick, definitive and correct. If that's not good enough, nothing is.
Of course, without the benefit of instant replay the Lakers would have gotten the ball and ABC still would have aired a replay. And that replay would have shown that the Clippers should have gotten the ball. Clippers fans and LeBron haters would have been screaming about the league being fixed. Imagine the Lakers going on to win after that? In another timeline, this same exact play would have resulted in someone writing a column about how this is the exact reason we need instant replay in the NBA. Maybe there is no answer.