Joel Embiid sank a three-pointer as time ran out in overtime to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 3-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors and add an indelible playoff moment to his growing Hall of Fame ledger. The shot came on an out-of-bounds play set up by a Doc Rivers timeout when the previous possession went sideways and moved toward emptiness. Raptors supporters, forced to cope with the crushing reality that their season is effectively over, have found an outlet for their pain and it's insisting that the shot never should have happened because Rivers crossed the midcourt line in order to catch the officials' attention and get the fateful stoppage.
It certainly seems that, by letter of the law, a technical should have been assessed. This would have resulted in a free-throw for Toronto and, potentially, a dramatically different series outcome. One can understand the frustration because the evidence is conclusive. At the same time, how often is such a call made? Can you imagine if that had been the outcome? This morning would be full-on controversy instead of having it contained to local message boards.
If we go down that hypothetical road, Sixers fans and Rivers himself would have an honest gripe about getting screwed because the officials absolutely have to be looking in his direction in case he wants to call timeout.
What happened happened. Toronto should set some reasonable expectations here as this idea to protest and replay simply isn't realistic.
Worth trying anything, though. Desperate times call for desperate measures.