CHICAGO -- After being victimized by the extra tenths of a second added after a replay review at the end of a Game 4 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says he is in favor of some tweaks to the replay review system moving forward.
With the game tied at 84 in the final seconds, play was stopped with 0.8 seconds left in regulation as officials tried to determine, with the help of the NBA's replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey, who the ball went off of and how much time should be left on the clock. When they returned a few moments later, it was determined the Cavaliers would retain possession and an extra seven-tenths of a second would be added to the clock.
The delay for the replay -- a de facto timeout -- allowed the Cavs to set up what they wanted to do, which was a huge luxury given that Cleveland didn't have any timeouts left.
LeBron James took the inbounds play and drained a long jumper over Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler that won the game at the buzzer. This fact drew even more national attention after the game when James admitted he didn't like the play coach David Blatt drew up in the huddle -- which had James throwing the inbounds pass -- and overruled his coach.
Thibodeau's issue isn't with the replay system itself -- he is in favor of that . The veteran coach just doesn't believe teams should be able to get an extra timeout if they have run out of them already.
"The thing is, it's what technology is doing to the league. I think the league itself, we're trying to figure it out as we go," Thibodeau said. "The intent is very good: It's to get it right. Then you're trying to figure out, OK, is there an advantage to be gained? Maybe in those situations, particularly when a team doesn't have a timeout, you don't let them go to the bench. I think the league is still -- this is the first time around with it, really, so we're figuring that out. I don't like it in that sense. Obviously, it affected us in a negative way, but for the most part, I think the technology has been good."
Thibodeau admitted he had asked the officials to review the play and believed the Cavs were asking for a review as well.
"They probably would have in that case," Thibodeau said of the officials. "Because it's not only whose ball it is, but [also] to get the time right."
A day after the review, that changed the ending of the game, Thibodeau didn't sound like a man with any regrets.
"You want to see if the ball did go out," he said. "Sometimes, it's a hard play to read because the ball could bounce inbounds. Now, until it hits something, there could be no time, so you want it to be reviewed."
Thibodeau also acknowledged he had seen Blatt trying to call a timeout his team did not have in the final seconds. Cavs assistant coach Tyronn Lue pulled Blatt back toward the bench and saved his team from a technical foul. Thibodeau understood why the officials did not see Blatt and thus did not call the technical. He also didn't sound bitter about the non-call.
"I saw him," Thibodeau said. "But it's hard for the officials to. The officials are following the play. Like sometimes, you could be screaming at them, they could be right in front of you, they don't hear you. So you have to jump at times right in front of them to get the call."