Hawks and Heat to Replay 51.9 Seconds

Shaquille O'Neal

What? Is this a joke?

The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat must replay the final 51.9 seconds of last month’s game after the league ruled that the official scorer gave Shaquille O’Neal one foul too many, resulting in him being fouled out.

This means that the 117-111 win in overtime by the Hawks on December 19 is crossed out from the record books and the final seconds of that game will be replayed.

Yes, you heard right.

Before their next meeting on March 8, these two teams will play starting at the time where O’Neal previously received the disputed sixth foul. 

Here’s what happened, according to a TSN article:

The Hawks were leading 112-111 in overtime when O’Neal was called for a foul. The scoring table personnel, who are provided by the home team, ruled it was the Miami centre’s sixth foul, when actually it was only his fifth. 
 
According to the league, the mistake stemmed from a foul with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter that was called on Udonis Haslem, but was mistakenly credited to O’Neal at the scoring table.
 
David Stern ruled the Hawks “failed to follow league-mandated scoring procedures and failed to respond effectively when the members of the statisticians’ crew noticed the mistake,” the NBA said in a statement.
 
“Because of this conduct by Atlanta’s personnel, Miami suffered a clear competitive disadvantage, as O’Neal – the Heat’s second-leading scorer and rebounder that night – was removed from a one-point game with only 51.9 seconds remaining.”
 
Now, they’ll have to do it over again. The NBA decided to let Horford’s free throws stand, meaning it will be Miami’s ball, with the Hawks up by three.
 
On the NBA’s official website, those final 51 seconds have already been wiped from the books. The Dec. 19 schedule shows 12 games as finals, but the one in Atlanta is still in progress. The box score and play-by-play are on hold, ending at the time of Horford’s free throws.  

This is absolutely absurd.

First off, it’s not like this was a playoff game, and secondly, mistakes happen in sports. If only we could take back so many instances where the ruling went wrong.

The NBA should not be doing this whatsoever, because then what happens everytime a wrong call is made by an official or a timekeeper? They can’t review it and play it out again.

The Hawks also were fined $50,000, because commissioner David Stern ruled that the team was “grossly negligent” in failing to address the mistake.  

It gets even more ridiculous because timekeepers make mistakes as well as athletes. Why isn’t Shaq fined for not keeping track of his own fouls? Give me a break. Games should not be allowed to be redone because, as unfair as maybe some instances are, it’s part of sports in general. If we can have do-overs in life, then history would be very different.

They cannot rebuild the whole scenario again, so they should not even touch it. Disciplinary action and warnings is okay, but to change the past result is a big no-no. Are they going to get the exact same crowd and atmosphere? Are they going to regain the same fatigue these players were experiencing at the time? Are they going to have the exact same lineups, especially if one of these teams make a trade?

This extra 51.9 seconds of play that these two teams will have to replay is a waste of time, and ultimately, an insult to the world of sports. And now, Stern and his NBA will add another page to the book of sporting disgrace.

So next time Dallas and Buffalo meets in NHL action, we’ll take off from when Brett Hull had his skates in the crease, okay? 

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