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Support growing for instant replay of last-second shots

Associated Press

In the wake of the controversy over a buzzer-beating shot that was waved off in a Charlotte-Orlando playoff game, NBA commissioner David Stern says the league plans to discuss using instant replay in similar situations.

"I think the whole subject has to be looked at, including just using instant replay," Stern said.

In Saturday's Hornets-Magic game, Charlotte's Baron Davis banked in a shot that clearly beat the buzzer after the Hornets inbounded with 0.7 seconds left and the score tied.

Referee Bernie Fryer waved the shot off while it was in the air, saying the officiating crew had discussed beforehand that no player could catch, turn and shoot in that amount of time.

The Hornets went on to defeat the Magic in overtime, but the episode showed that the league needs to address its policies regarding rulings on last-second shots.

"I think that we've got to do two things: We've got to satisfy our fans that they can understand what our rules are, and we have to re-evaluate what human beings can do," Stern said Sunday to reporters in Portland.

"Basically, you wind up having a standard that says it isn't humanly possible to do something in less than 0.7 seconds, and then someone proves that it is, and those are the kinds of protocols that we use."

The league adopted one timing-related rules change for the playoffs, deciding in February that timekeepers from neutral NBA cities should be brought in to work postseason games. In addition, referees have been equipped for several seasons with clock-starting devices attached to their belts that override the timekeeper's controls.

"When you have 0.7 on the clock, you actually have more than 0.7, because you have 0.7 plus the amount of time it takes for somebody to push the button," Stern said. "So 0.7 might be 0.8 or 0.9. And as a result, the way the referees deal with that is they discuss among themselves what is humanly possible within the remaining time."

Stern said the details of any instant replay rule would have to be addressed by the league's competition committee when it meets during in June in Chicago. Among the problems: quality of replays and the number of cameras used at different games.

"You could just say go with the clock and the red light, but we've tried to factor in the human factor so as not to give teams more time than is left on the clock," Stern said.

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