The video isn’t exactly conclusive as to whether or not Novak stepped out of bounds (with the heel of his foot) before putting the Nets to sleep with a buzzer-beating three. Even more critically, it might not matter one way or another.
According to someone in the know, as long as Novak was in bounds when he released the shot, then that’s all the NBA cares about.
We asked someone who would know – works for the league, saw the play, knows the rules and the parameters, and can’t be named – and he made it simple for us: Even if Novak was out of bounds on the catch, it’s irrelevant.
The call on the court was that the shot was released in time – that was the only thing Danny Crawford’s crew was permitted to overturn when they checked the replay in this particular scenario. If they muffed the non-call (the step-out, which was too close to call from the angle we saw), that’s just tough noogies.
He wasn’t out of bounds when he shot it, and that’s all that mattered. It does not preclude the make in this case. Play stands, Nets lose, and another endgame failure spills over into psychosis.
Sorry, Nets fans. This is but another horrific chapter in your nightmare of a season.