February 17, 2011
NBA players have a code based on standards of fair competition and sportsmanship. When that code is violated, tempers flare. Trickery is fine, but only within the parameters of a play. A no-look pass is fine -- pulling down the pants of an opponent is not.
Wednesday night, Andre Miller(notes) came close to breaking the NBA code of ethics by faking a timeout midway through the third quarter of Portland's game against New Orleans. With the Blazers down seven points, Miller dribbled to the sideline in the fashion normally associated with calling a timeout -- the announcer even mentioned that he was calling one. Except, instead of asking for a stoppage, Miller blew by the slowed-down Trevor Ariza(notes) for a relatively easy lay-up. This is exactly why coaches always say not to quit until the whistle blows.
This move is basically the NBA equivalent of when quarterbacks fake a quick spike at the line of scrimmage and then pass to an open receiver down the field. But it remains to be seen whether Miller's gambit will catch on -- it could be considered underhanded by most players.
Whatever the case, it seemed to work: The Blazers eventually won the game 103-96. With timeouts scarce, maybe this will be the new method of choice to stop a run before the game gets out of hand.