Starting next season, the NBA will be implementing what may ultimately become known as “The Max Strus Rule.”
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Friday that the NBA will be changing the announcement timing for reviewed shots. The announcement will be made as soon as the replay center confirms the call (once play is stopped at a “neutral” time). A blue light will also illuminate the scorer’s table to signal a forthcoming scoring change, Winderman adds.
Per NBA rules, instant replay review may be triggered when officials are not “reasonably certain” if a made basket was a two-pointer or a three-pointer. At that point, the NBA Replay Center can review the video to determine how to score the basket AND to determine if the shooter committed a boundary line violation (ie stepped out-of-bounds on the play).
This rule became the subject of controversy in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Coference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. With 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, Heat swingman Max Strus hit a three to cut Boston’s lead to 56-54. After almost a full three minutes of game action however, officials ruled that Strus had stepped out of bounds and wiped away his three-pointer. At the time, the Heat were trailing 65-57. But after Strus’ three was taken off the board (combined with two free throws that Robert Williams was taking at the time), their deficit suddenly became 67-54. Miami ultimately lost by just four points (102-98) and even had a real shot to win it in the final 20 seconds on a Jimmy Butler three attempt.
Regardless of whether or not you believe Strus stepped out (you can make that determination for yourself here), the timing of the announcement was awful and messed up the flow of the third quarter for both the teams and their fans. The NBA’s new rule change will be hoping to remedy just that.