It’s one of the most iconic shots in NBA history. Everyone held their breath while the ball took four bounces before going in to send the Raptors to the NBA Finals. A few weeks later, on June 13th, 2019, the Raptors became NBA champions. A year later, JJ Redick is still processing the loss.
“It’s funny, early in the pandemic JJ Redick texted me out of nowhere. He said, ‘You know Kawhi traveled?’ Out of nowhere. So I went online, and I watched it – he definitely did travel.”Tobias Harris
Two things come to mind. Yes, Kawhi traveled. This is the point where every NBA fan is thinking, ‘No way they call that, ever.’ and it drives me insane. One of my pet peeves is how much traveling doesn’t get called in the NBA. Particularly rationalizing that this may have been called in the second quarter, but no way with an even score and 4.2 seconds to go in Game 7. Everywhere else in life, it’s the exact opposite! You expect rules to be followed more closely in critical situations. Not in sports.
The other thing is the masochism of professional athletes. You’d think Redick would spend his time during the epidemic checking up on Zion and following epidemiologist reports. It turns out he was rewatching one of the most painful moments in his basketball career. Well, not all players are like that. Harris obviously never went back to that play.
I’m sure Redick would say they had more than one chance to win that game, and you can’t put it on the missed travel call. But there will always be a little part of him thinking, “if only they didn’t blow the call.” We don’t know what the future holds, but this may be the closest the 76ers get to the Finals with this team. So much tanking, and pain just to lose on a dramatic shot (and a missed call).
I think the refs should call traveling in situations like these, but then again, I think Harden is traveling on most of his step-backs, so what do I know.