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Grant Hill Says Refs 'Blew the Call' at the End of Regulation in Denver

Jan 16, 2009 – 12:30 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

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There was a pretty entertaining basketball game Thursday night in Denver, where the Suns turned a 14-point second quarter lead into an eight-point fourth quarter deficit, before coming back to send the game into overtime and eventually losing to the Nuggets.

As is often the case in the NBA, the losing team tends to point to a single play or call by an official that they feel cost them the game, even though there were, like, over 200 total possessions that they could have used to swing the outcome in their favor.

Grant Hill did exactly that after the game, when he said that the referees "blew the call" at the end of regulation when they swallowed their whistles on his final shot. Did the refs get it right? Video and discussion, after the jump.

The play in question happens about 25 seconds into this clip, where you can see Dahntay Jones subtly use his right leg to knock Hill off balance once he leaves his feet to take the shot attempt.

Here's what Hill had to say about it after the game:
"They blew the call," said Hill. "I got fouled. I got tripped. And I got hit by Nene. The trip was pretty obvious. You'd think one of the officials out there would have the angle. I know not everyone can see the play but there were three seconds left. It was tough, hard-fought game and you put yourself in position to win. I have the ball and got a chance to get to the basket and I get tripped. It's not like I'm going to just fall."
Looking at the replay (multiple times), Jones absolutely stuck that right leg out and sort of upended Hill as he went to the basket. And sure, as Hill said, there was contact from Nene once he was in the air. But should he have gotten the call?

Watching at full speed (as the officials had to), Hill wasn't exactly tripped -- Jones' leg certainly altered Hill's flight path to the rim, but he had already taken off before Jones made contact. And because of that contact, his path into Nene looked a little more out of control than a typical gliding layup attempt that we're used to seeing from Hill.

The referees are going to be hesitant to make a call like that when it appeared that Hill had no chance at making the shot, especially in an end-of-game situation. Since Jones' "trip" was so subtle, and occurred after Hill left the ground, it's hard to blame the refs for not making that call. Besides, had the Suns been able to hold onto any part of that 14-point lead -- or even played Shaq instead of holding him out in favor of Friday's game against the Timberwolves -- we wouldn't even be talking about any of this.
Filed under: Sports