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King George
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Discussion Starter #1
This is wild.

Link to the game in question
http://youtu.be/pEGvKVNoJ8E?t=16m12s

#22 comes off the bench around the 16:55 mark on the video.

1993. Second-round series. Rockets at Sonics. Game 7. Overtime.

Hakeem Olajuwon has the ball with nine seconds left. His team is down one and no teammate is closer than 15 feet away. The "D-FENCE” snare drum blares, but the Seattle crowd is too immersed in the action for an organized chant. Instead they murmur a warble of concern as Olajuwon dribbles in the reflection of every pupil in the building.

...

So it was quite shocking to see Olajuwon on NBA TV, in this 1993 Game 7 overtime moment, feebly giving the ball up under duress. You can watch the whole thing online for yourself. Even though he successfully passed to Vernon Maxwell, it set up an errant, drifting baseline jumper. Houston lost the series, and this pass was one small, but undeniable part of the reason why.

There were better options.

I rewind the DVR and spy a cutter near the basket. Had Olajuwon hit Robert Horry early in the possession, Houston would have likely won the series. Horry was calling for the ball with both hands up, presaging a later willingness to take on responsibility in big moments.

I rewind again, this time spotting Matt Bullard above the arc. Bullard was a 3-point ace, and Olajuwon could have found him with a bounce pass. It might have been a tough angle, but retrospect declared it a superior option to Maxwell.

Perhaps the most open man of all is this mysterious figure by the baseline. He’s farthest from the action, shrouded by low-definition fog -- a shimmering spirit. I make out a smudgy “22” on his uniform. My TV is paused at the six-second mark, right after Hakeem makes his ill-fated pass. Could Olajuwon have hit this open blur sooner? For shame, Dream. For shame.

Rewind. Fast forward. Rewind. Fast forward. What the ... ? My neck hairs stab the air.

The open man

Much as I would love to retroactively scold Olajuwon for a two-decade old, split-second decision, it is hard to see how he could hit No. 22 earlier in the possession. And it is hard to see this because 22 is not on the court earlier in the possession.

Fewer passing angles are more difficult than the one to an invisible man. There is no player 22 sighting in this entire overtime until the final play at exactly the six-second mark. When Hakeem has the ball with eight ticks left, there is no 22. Two seconds later, he pops up on screen like an animation trick, ready for a pass. This guy really is a ghost, a sudden visitor from another world.

Fortunately that world was the crowded Rockets bench and not some demonic dimension hidden in the floorboards. “No. 22” is indeed a mortal and his name is Winston Garland. He’s a bit player, nearing the end of a short-lived NBA career. Though this “Winston Garland” scenario is more plausible than a supernatural incident, the act itself still confounds. Men usually don’t act this irrationally. What, exactly, happened?

...

Was this insanity? Was this a cynical ploy to give Houston an advantage? There was a little known loophole in the NBA rulebook at that time. A sixth man incurred a technical foul, but the points he produced could not be taken off the board. Had Garland announced his presence by hitting a 3-pointer, the Rockets would have been up by two. The ensuing technical may have returned one point to Seattle -- at most. A designed play to a sixth man may well have the smart move. For all Karl knew, Garland was a savvy cheater.
http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/50511/the-ghost-of-game-7
 

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Premium Member
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I read the article first and expected something mysterious... basically Winston Garland walks on the court in front of the Rockets bench as he's watching the play develop. He walks out pretty far... it almost looks like he might have forgotten at a certain point that he wasn't in the game, but it isn't like he was setting up or calling for the ball or anything... he was being an eager spectator from what I could tell. Honestly, there are close to 8 guys on the court because two guys in warmups from the Rocket bench come awfully close to stepping on the floor too... Garland just gets out in front of them. I want my 5 minutes back.
 

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King George
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Discussion Starter #4
I read the article first and expected something mysterious... basically Winston Garland walks on the court in front of the Rockets bench as he's watching the play develop. He walks out pretty far... it almost looks like he might have forgotten at a certain point that he wasn't in the game, but it isn't like he was setting up or calling for the ball or anything... he was being an eager spectator from what I could tell. Honestly, there are close to 8 guys on the court because two guys in warmups from the Rocket bench come awfully close to stepping on the floor too... Garland just gets out in front of them. I want my 5 minutes back.
I have no doubt in my mind had the ball bounced differently off the rim he would have caught the rebound and put it back up.

But yeah, there wasn't a cheating strategy involved, just something weird.
 

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I have no doubt in my mind had the ball bounced differently off the rim he would have caught the rebound and put it back up.

But yeah, there wasn't a cheating strategy involved, just something weird.
He does get in an athletic stance... he might have. Like I said, it did kind of look like he forgot where he was. I wasn't trying to unnecessarily shit on the thread, it was more that the article got my hopes up that there was something more devious involved.
 

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_(ツ)_ส้้้้&#3
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Can someone cut through all the stupid prose and tell me what happened? This writing style is unreadable.
 

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My first post summed it up, I thought. One of the Rockets bench guys was on the corner of the floor while Dream turned it over at the end of an important game.
 

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Premium Member
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I read the article first and expected something mysterious... basically Winston Garland walks on the court in front of the Rockets bench as he's watching the play develop. He walks out pretty far... it almost looks like he might have forgotten at a certain point that he wasn't in the game, but it isn't like he was setting up or calling for the ball or anything... he was being an eager spectator from what I could tell. Honestly, there are close to 8 guys on the court because two guys in warmups from the Rocket bench come awfully close to stepping on the floor too... Garland just gets out in front of them. I want my 5 minutes back.
Yeah, that's what I'm seeing in that video. Disappointing. I was expecting something like that Portland/Boston game a couple of years back where the Blazers basically ran a sixth man play to generate a wide open three to close out the half to exploit that loophole.
 
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