Most goaltending calls we see in the NBA are pretty much the same – a player slightly misjudging the trajectory of the shot, making the block a tad too late. Jermaine O’Neal decided he wanted to make his one quite special, while also doing it in the most crucial of moments, knocking a shot while it was bouncing off the rim to give the Houston Rockets a last-second victory thanks to his intervention.
In O’Neal’s defense, it’s not that complicated to see why he tried to influence the ball. Patrick Beverley was coming in for the tip in after Harden’s ball hit the rim once, going up in the air. But the ball didn’t sway from it’s original position except for height, coming back down to the exact same spot it hit the first time, and from the replays, it looked like it was rolling away from the basket.
O’Neal tried to save the day by swatting it away, instead doing it while it was still in the cylinder zone of the rim, giving the Rockets three points they didn’t deserve, and the 101-98 win. O’Neal had a bad game in general, scoring six points, adding 6 rebounds while shooting 2-12 from the field.