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Blazers Protest Controversial Loss to Thunder
- Updated: January 24, 2024
The Portland Trail Blazers are set to contest the outcome of their recent game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, filing a protest with the NBA after a 111-109 loss. The dispute revolves around a crucial moment in the fourth quarter when coach Chauncey Billups, with a slim 109-108 lead, appeared to call for a timeout just before a referee signaled a double dribble on guard Malcolm Brogdon with 15.1 seconds remaining.
Expressing his frustration over the situation, Billups was hit with two technical fouls, resulting in his ejection from the game. The Blazers argue that the timeout call should have been acknowledged, providing an opportunity to regroup and potentially secure the win.
“We’ve got timeouts,” remarked Billups post-game. “Referees usually are prepared for that, you know, that instance, that situation. I’m at half court, trying to call a timeout. It’s just frustrating. My guys played too hard for that. It’s a frustrating play.”
In response to the protest, crew chief Bill Kennedy explained that Billups was not granted a timeout because the referee’s attention was focused on the play in front of him. Kennedy noted the difficulty in hearing and seeing Billups’ request in the midst of the game action. The referee’s decision to prioritize the ongoing play, which resulted in a correctly called double dribble, triggered the subsequent technical fouls.
Following the contested call, the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made one of two technical free throws, tying the score at 109-109. Jalen Williams then secured the victory for the Thunder with a shot 2.1 seconds before the final buzzer. The loss dropped the Blazers to a 12-31 record for the season. The two teams are scheduled to meet once more on March 6 in Portland.
NBA teams have a 48-hour window to file a protest, accompanied by five days to present supporting evidence. The league office, in turn, has an additional five days to make a decision. Filing a protest incurs a $10,000 fee, refundable if the challenge proves successful. However, historical data indicates that the NBA seldom upholds protests, with only six instances recorded in league history, the most recent occurring on Dec. 19, 2007, involving Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal.
In that case, O’Neal was incorrectly ruled to have six fouls when he had only five. The game was resumed on March 8, 2008, with neither team scoring during the 51.9 seconds replayed from overtime. The Atlanta Hawks ultimately won 114-111. Notably, before the game resumed, O’Neal had been traded to the Phoenix Suns.
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By- Sahiba Suri