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Pundits expected the Milwaukee Bucks to be an Eastern Conference championship contender this season, but the young squad's success has been inconsistent. Nonetheless, the Bucks have pulled out clutch victories in recent weeks against two very talented teams—the Cavaliers (Dec. 19) and the Thunder (Dec. 30).
Friday night's game against Oklahoma City ended in a controversial fashion. With the game knotted at 95, Milwaukee had a side-out with 4.7 seconds left. Khris Middleton inbounded the ball to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks' young star, who drove the baseline against Josh Huestis, and finished strong at the rim after Russell Westbrook challenged him.
It didn't look like a clean drive, though—it sure looked like Giannis' right foot stepped out of bounds. Others believed it may have been a travel.
Giannis appears to step out of bounds on his game-winning baseline drive. pic.twitter.com/OwP70JZ0xa— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 30, 2017
After the game, as you'd expect, Oklahoma City was not very happy. Coach Billy Donovan said it was "obvious" and that "everybody knows" Giannis stepped out of bounds.
Billy Donovan on the final play (Pt. 1): "Obviously, he stepped out of bounds. Everybody knows that. I did not get a chance to personally see the replay. I was trying to ask for a review."— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) December 30, 2017
Forward Paul George vented on Twitter.
Wow?! No travel OR out of bounds huh? 🤔— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) December 30, 2017
Melo had a measured perspective on the situation.
And veteran guard Raymond Felton pleaded the fifth.
Ray Felton asked about the finish to tonight’s game: “Well, I’m not gonna give my honest answer...”— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 30, 2017
The play could not be reviewed because there wasn't a whistle.
Official Derrick Stafford on the final sequence via a pool reporter: "In any reviewable matter, there has to be a whistle called on the floor. There was no whistle blown for the play, so we couldn't review it."— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 30, 2017
Needless to say, the NBA replay system is broken, and the systemic failure has become abundantly clear this season. In this decade the league has consistently been at the forefront of innovation in American sports, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see a rule change in the offseason.