Rod Thorn helped write the NBA rules, spending 14 years as a league executive. On Tuesday night, the president of the New Jersey Nets insisted the referees ruled incorrectly in New Jersey's 100-97 loss to the Cavaliers at Cleveland.
Thorn and the Nets believed Lamond Murray's game-winning three-pointer from the corner should have been waved off.
There were 0.5 seconds to play when Andre Miller inbounded the ball, and Murray was able to catch it and shoot it before the buzzer sounded.
"Obviously it was late," Thorn said. "When you catch the ball sideways, it is impossible to [score]. That is just unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. It has nothing to do with the clock, it is the referees' decision about when the clock gets turned on."
Referees Leon Wood, Joe Forte and Bennie Adams refused to comment. All three wore belt packs that can activate the clock when a button is pushed. Television replays showed Murray releasing the ball before the clock reached zero.
"They have the things on, but sometimes you forget," Thorn said.
Keith Van Horn had tied the score, 97-97, with a three-pointer moments earlier after taking an inbounds pass from Jason Kidd, who scored 30 points.
Sacramento 110, Houston 87--Chris Webber had 35 points and 12 rebounds and the Kings improved their league-best home record to 31-3.
Although the Kings lost All-Star Peja Stojakovic in the opening seconds when he aggravated his strained right hamstring, they had little trouble beating Houston for the seventh consecutive time.
Minnesota 112, Toronto 80--The host Timberwolves ended their season-high seven-game skid behind Kevin Garnett's 20 points.
Toronto lost for the 17th time in 18 games and had its most lopsided defeat this season.
Philadelphia 91, Miami 79--Allen Iverson scored 33 points for Philadelphia, including 21 in the second half, at Miami.
The Heat lost for only the third time in 10 games and fell 21/2 games behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York 101, Memphis 92--Latrell Sprewell scored 23 points and the Knicks erased a 10-point deficit in the final seven minutes at Memphis, Tenn.
Orlando 101, Milwaukee 91--Tracy McGrady had 48 points--30 in the first half--at Orlando, Fla., and the Magic won their sixth in a row.
Pat Garrity made seven three-pointers and had 21 points for Orlando.
Atlanta 102, Chicago 96--Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 25 points and Jason Terry scored 22 for the Hawks, who have won four of five.
Detroit 94, Utah 87--Jerry Stackhouse, Cliff Robinson and Chucky Atkins each had 20 points for the Pistons, who had not won at Salt Lake City since 1989, a stretch of 11 games.
Seattle 110, Golden State 93--Rashard Lewis scored 26 points and the host SuperSonics beat the Warriors for the 12th consecutive time.