Chauncey Billups drew a foul attempting a three pointer late in the Clippers victory in Utah Monday night. It was a crucial play in the Clippers comeback -- it was also a flop.
With 74 seconds remaining, the Clippers down two and the shot clock about to expire, Chauncey Billups of the Clippers went up for a three pointer as Mo Williams desperately tried to close him out. Williams flew by, Billups went down, Dick Bavetta called a foul, Billups made two of three free throws to tie the game and the Clippers went on to win.
Williams complained vociferously on the call -- so much so that he risked getting a technical foul as well. Oftentimes when a player complains that much they know what they're saying. The Prime Ticket broadcast in Los Angeles only showed the standard camera angle on Billups' three pointer, an angle from which you couldn't really tell if he got hit or not, so I couldn't tell whether it was a flop or not. But it looks like the Utah broadcast had a different angle as shown in this YouTube clip, and yup, it's a big time flop. As Williams goes by, the only contact between the players is initiated by Billups as he sticks his left arm out. It's a rather brilliant maneuver as it allows him to "sell" it as a foul on that contact.
The league office will undoubtedly review this play and I suspect that they will issue a warning to Billups under the new flopping rule. And the Clippers still win the game.
And that's the ultimate limitation of the flopping rule -- it doesn't change the fact that Billups helped the Clippers win the game with a huge play. Any player, any team, anybody will take that every time. Let's see, I get a win and a warning? Okie dokie.
There's no guarantee that Billups will be warned, but I assume he will. And if it is delivered in letter form he should frame it and display it next to the box score. I'm a big fan of fines after the fact as a last resort, but as long as refs reward flopping on the court it will remain a part of the game -- and anyone who thinks they can eliminate it with warnings and fine is naive.
Great play, Chauncey. Bad call, Dick Bavetta.