- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. | In the day following the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 2 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic, one of the most discussed topics was Pau Gasol’s apparent goaltending - which went uncalled - on Courtney Lee’s failed game-winner at the end of regulation.

According to replays, when Lee caught the ball along the baseline with 0.6 seconds remaining, Gasol went up, and his hand hit the rim. The airborne Lee was under the rim and, after Gasol went up, tried the flip the ball up for a semi-reverse layup. The shot bounced off the rim and fell to the floor, bringing on overtime with the game knotted at 88-88.

The popular belief was that goaltending should have been called on Gasol, but Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the call was one of many that are missed in games.

“Is there any talk about [Dwight] Howard going through the rim and blocking the shot of Pau’s earlier in the ballgame? I don’t think anybody has mentioned that one. Yeah, [Gasol] got his hand caught in the rim in that one, no doubt about it.”

Jackson said the correct call would have been “basket interference,” which - although it’s rarely enforced nowadays - also penalizes a player for his hand coming in contact with the net.

Jackson didn’t believe that Gasol’s contact with the rim - which came before Lee let go of the ball - had an impact on whether Lee made the shot, however.

“He didn’t interfere with the shot basically. That was not something that destroyed the shot,” he said.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy agreed with Jackson and at first quickly dismissed the debate.

“Look, I’m not going to get into calls,” Van Gundy said. “Calls didn’t decide that game.”

When further pressed on the matter, Van Gundy said, “I don’t think [Gasol’s] 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.”

Van Gundy also added that Lee had a good opportunity considering the situation but that - because of his angle on the basket and the awkward way he had to flip the ball back and upward - the shot wasn’t one of high percentage, and that Lee shouldn’t be criticized for missing the shot.

Coach K on Kobe, LeBron

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who guided the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal last year, was on hand as part of a panel to announce the NCAA and NBA’s new joint youth basketball initiative, iHoops, which is designed to provide structure and development programs to enhance the quality of youth basketball in the United States.

Krzyzewski said he has yet to decide whether he will coach the Olympic team in the next Summer Olympics. And he also danced around another tough question. Krzyzewski was asked to weigh in on the popular debate over who is better, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. He is the only person to coach both stars.

“Well, they’re both on my team,” Krzyzewski said with a laugh. “In Kobe’s case, in the NBA, when you’re six years apart, they have dogs’ lives. It’s almost in dog years. Kobe’s almost in a different part of his career. You can look at what he’s accomplished and what he is accomplishing, and then you look at LeBron and can he accomplish that? Yeah.”

Krzyzewski said because the players are at two different points in their careers it’s near impossible to judge who’s better.

“When it’s all said and done, you’ll be talking about two of the top 10 to ever play the game,” Krzyzewski said. “The similarities, they’re both brilliant.”

On who he would want to have the ball in their hands with the game on the line, the coach said, “I’d want LeBron to dribble it and to hit Kobe, which is what happened in the Olympics, and we won.”

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