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Sunday Morning Musings: Beating the Buzzer (6.3.2018)

Sunday Morning Musings: Beating the Buzzer (6.3.2018)

Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Happy Sunday, fellow Musers! This week has brought up some interesting things in the world of sports (though this week we’re opening that term up to be the world of competition). We’ve got buzzer beaters galore, kids who are far more accomplished than I will ever be, Clay Matthews’ “boo boo on his nose”, and honestly one of the strangest stories I’ve ever heard of in sports. Let’s get cracking.

The Mercy of the Buzzer

A lot has been made of the J.R. Smith buzzer fiasco in game 1 of the NBA Finals. If you’ve been living under a sports rock, and don’t know to what I’m referring, know that J.R. was a bonehead. If you need a visual representation, use this.

How boneheaded was this blunder? Enough that if you thought J.R. getting suspended for throwing soup on a coach was the dumbest thing he’d do all season, you’d be wrong. This blunder was dumber than the moment he left the court to say hello to an opponent, allowing his man to get a dunk. Oh you missed that one? Merry Christmas.

But while JR Smith totally blowing an NBA Finals game despite being a professional athlete is an insane buzzer story from this past week, Turf Writer Katie Pierce found one even better.

Quick note, to whoever put this on the internet, her name is Dennise. It feels unlikely to me that anyone’s real name would be Denninese. How would you even pronounce that? Den-in-ease? Den-in-ey-ze? I’m going with that last one. Now then, WHAT?! IN WHAT WAY DOES SHE SAY MOVING BOXES BEFORE THE BUZZER? The buzzer clearly goes off AND YET THEY GIVE HER THE VICTORY. What are the rules here? Do you just have to have started your answer, or do you need to be finished? This controversy needs addressing. I’m looking at you Pat Sajak. The Turf has reached out to Pat Sajak and Wheel of Fortune for comment, but have yet to hear back.

This ending may be more controversial than the ending to the 2007 adaptation of The Mist. LITERALLY DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS THERE COULDN’T BE MORE SPOILERS. Is that one too obscure for you? Okay then what about Titanic? THAT DOOR WAS BIG ENOUGH FOR THE BOTH OF THEM, FIGHT ME.

You thought we were done talking Game 1, didn’t you?

BUT NO WE’RE NOT. From Turf Writer Andrew Wilhelm:

This L2M Report is a joke. Ugh.

For those who don’t know, “L2M” stands for “Last Two Minutes”. The NBA releases such a report for any game that ends within 3 points, in order to show where the officiating got it right (and why) and where the league finds the officiating to have been incorrect. Let’s take a look at a couple highlights from the last 13 seconds of Game 1, shall we?

2 of the three things here are disastrous for the Cavaliers

Quick note from the L2M itself:

“Event Assessments: CC = Correct Call, IC = Incorrect Call, CNC = Correct Non-Call, INC = Incorrect Non-Call”

So in our screenshot above, the first thing we see is an Incorrect Non-Call. Why is that a big deal? 8 whole seconds before George Hill takes to the line, trailing by 1 point, and makes only 1 of his 2 free throws, Lebron James should have gone to the line. Tell me, is there anyone in the world more clutch at anything than Lebron James is in the NBA Playoffs? He dropped 51 points in this game. Fifty. One. You’re telling me you wouldn’t rather have Lebron go to the line with the chance to go ahead by 1 point than George Hill? You’re out of your damn mind.

But to the line, Hill went, and he missed his second free throw that would have taken the lead. Oh what’s that? Draymond Green stepped into the lane before the release of the attempt? Remind me, but isn’t a lane violation another shot? From the official NBA rules:

a violation by the defense shall be disregarded if the free throw attempt is successful. If the free throw attempt is unsuccessful, a substitute free throw attempt is awarded.

George Hill’s shot missed, therefore he should have been awarded a “substitute free throw attempt”. However the NBA is choosing to call that “incidental or immaterial”. Why, because the Cavs got the rebound? That’s not a good reason, who wouldn’t rather have a Free Throw than a contested Field Goal? The official L2M doesn’t even have a designation of CNC or INC attached, it’s just blank.

I’ll let Andrew finish his entire thought on Game 1, and then we’re done, I swear.

You can still be moving your feet and be in legal guarding position. Moreover, LeBron was no where near the restricted area in order to review that. At the time it was a 2 point Cavs lead and should’ve been Cavs ball. Instead KD ties it with free throws.

Yes, George Hill and JR Smith completely blew this epic game from LeBron. But it should’ve never came down to that. And JR’s blunder and Tristan’s flagrant 2 that I do not understand will take all of the culpability off the refs, who had a terrible night.

This comes from someone who sat in his room watching the game wearing a Draymond Green jersey.

Ovechkin is on another level

Every time I watch Alex Ovechkin play, I have an odd experience. The puck ends up on his stick, and I lean forward, every time. It feels like 100% of the time Ovechkin skates with the puck, he makes major moves. Obviously that can’t always be true, but it doesn’t matter, he’s the kind of player who demands attention. Not even in a showboat-y way, just in the way where the game lives and dies on his handling of the puck. In NHL Finals game 3? He didn’t disappoint, because he’s a superstar.

In the first period he attempted 8 shots. The Golden Knights first line attempted 6. One of those shots was only saved by a miraculous performance from Marc-Andre Fleury. His pass to Tom Wilson was a laser with pinpoint accuracy that without question should be a goal if Wilson handles it properly. In the second period, he scored just over a minute in. He now has 14 goals in the playoffs, tying the franchise record, and I think it likely that record will be very broken before the Stanley Cup is hoisted. Also the Cup is coming to Washington, I have that feeling.

The kids are alright

If you haven’t read Katie Pierce’s awesome article about the Spelling Bee, then leave. Seriously, go read it and come back. If you don’t come back I won’t be mad, her article’s better than this one. I really want to talk about one portion of the Bee. The final round.

We’re going to start by giving Karthik Nemmani props. I had never heard of the word Koinonia before, let alone how I would even attempt to spell it. He is smarter than I’ll ever bee (see what I did there?) and I have no problems saying that. My problem is with whoever decides the difficulty of the words. You see there’s Koinonia, obscure, weird, and that opening K will throw you for a loop. Great red herring. But then there’s the kind of word that knocked out Nemmani’s opponent.

a state of consciousness or a feeling devoid of sensory components

What is the rationale behind calling these words comparable? Nasa Modi is a 4-time (now 5-time) Bee participant, and she even beat Nemmani at the county level. Yes, this is the nature of competition, and yes Nemmani’s story is awesome, but does anyone else feel a little like Modi just got robbed? Though both words really only have one pitfall, (k in Koinonia, double s before single s in Bewusstseinslage), Modi still had twice as many letters to get correct without any kind of aid. Using an online permutations calculator, there are 103,077,446,706 possible options for Modi. There are 13,884,156 possibilities when dealing with 8 characters. Rounded, that’s 103 Trillion to 14 Billion. THESE ARE NOT COMPARABLE COMPUTATIONS TO BE DOING IN YOUR HEAD.

Hot Take: Anyone else feel like this is a really accurate accidental representation of what it’s like to be a woman on a career track? But in all seriousness, I don’t understand the calculation that says these words are of equal weight.

Clay Matthews’ broken nose

During a charity softball game yesterday, Clay Matthews threw a pitch, and had it rocketed right back into his face. I don’t think anyone expects an injury during a charity game, and I wonder if teams of all sports will be more cautious going forward. This injury could have been much worse than it was, and it still will involve him having nose surgery. This close to preseason, that’s not a good look for the Green Bay Packers fans, who I’m sure are monitoring this extremely closely.

In conclusion

I’m honestly shocked at this situation with Colangelo and the 76ers. It deserves a full article and even thinking about trying to sum up this absolute clusterf**k that is the situation exhausts me. My friend’s fiancé Sarah wrote a fantastic article on the matter for BillyPenn, so read that. Andrew Wilhelm summed it up well, though:

this Colangelo story is the greatest thing to happen in a season of many great things for the NBA. And the fact they are seriously considering letting him go as they turn their investigation towards his wife?!? This is Hollywood story if there ever was one when its all said and done, and I am all in on it.

Look for some reporting on this disastrous situation in Philly coming soon from The Turf.

Ned is an Actor and award-winning Content Creator based out of Brooklyn, New York. Currently you can hear him as a voice actor on the podcast Encounter Party!, and as the host of the podcast At the Table: A Play Reading Series. Originally from Portland, Maine, Ned is an avid follower of all things New England, be it sports teams, breweries, seafood, or Cumby's. He spends most of his free time playing board games, listening to podcasts, and gawking at dogs on the street. You can learn more on his website,

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