ORLANDO, Fla. -- The hot topic before Game 3 Tuesday night was still Courtney Lee's missed layup at the end of regulation in Game 2, with Lakers coach Phil Jackson advancing the story by saying he believed basket interference should have been called on Pau Gasol.
"Basket interference according to the rules, yeah," Jackson said.
As Lee caught an inbounds pass with 0.6 seconds left and the score tied 88-88, Gasol's fingers touched the rim as he contested the shot. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy refused to revisit the situation, saying, "Calls didn’t decide that game. I don’t think his hand being there or not being there had anything to do with the shot going in or not. You're not going to get a complaint from me on that call."
Jackson added, "It's called basket interference is what it's called. Even if you hit the net supposedly in the process that's part of it, but that rule is kind of archaic. It isn't called in this day and age as much, but when we were in high school ... that was something a high school ref might call, basket interference."
When pressed on his position, Jackson admitted that Gasol's contact with the rim "didn't interfere with the shot, basically. That was not something that destroyed the shot."
With all due respect to Jackson, Magic fans, and talk radio yappers, I pose the following question: Is ESPN.com not available in central Florida? We give credit where credit is due here in the BergerSphere, and Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com put this issue to rest two days ago. After Game 2, he spoke with the NBA's supervisor of officials, Bernie Fryer, who clearly explained the rule, why basket interference wasn't called, and why it was the correct call.
Here I am quoting from the NBA rule book -- Rule 11, Section I. A player must not:
* Vibrate the rim, net or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce, or bend or move the rim to an off-center position when the ball is touching the ring or passing through; or
* Touch the rim, net or ball while the ball is in the net, preventing it from clearing the basket.
Gasol didn't do any of those things, which explains why Fryer said after the game that it was a "cut-and-dried no call."
There. Can we move on?