The Dallas Mavericks and their fans can point to quite a few reasons for the team's two-point, 88-86 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The team missed five free throws, shot 40 percent, turned the ball over 18 times, and clanged a series of solid 3-point looks down the stretch. But Miami guard Mario Chalmers' buzzer-beating three to end the first quarter, one that should have been disallowed as Chalmers' foot was technically in the back court as he caught the ball, will sting the hardest.
The half-court stripe is considered part of the back court, and the referees missed the fact that Chalmers had his heel on the line when he took the pass from Udonis Haslem in the front court. The rule is that you must be considered fully in the front court before you can receive a pass from the front court, and Chalmers' foot was still in the back court when he caught the ball. That's a lot of "courts" to consider, but all Mavs fans will look at is that two-point deficit on the scoreboard as the final buzzer sounded, while ruing the three points that shouldn't have counted.
Of course, had Dirk Nowitzki not missed two shots down the stretch of the fourth quarter, kept the ball instead of dishing off for a Jason Terry miss, and not gotten caught up in a Haslem screen that allowed Chris Bosh to hit the eventual game-winner, nobody will remember this. Such are the vicissitudes of an incredibly close game.
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