Posted May 29, 2013

Video: Did Dwyane Wade travel on key possession in Heat’s Game 4 loss?

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, Rob Mahoney
Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade had three turnovers in Game 4, including a crucial traveling call. (Michael Conroy/AP)

Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals was lamentably over-officiated, reducing an engaging contest to fits and starts. Few possessions Tuesday seemed to run their course without a whistle, and between them, the Pacers and Heat combined for 55 fouls despite the game’s glacial pace.

The referees made their presence felt throughout Indiana’s 99-92 victory, particularly in the final minute of the fourth quarter with crucial calls against Miami. The first was a moving screen violation called against LeBron James with 56 seconds remaining and the Heat trailing 96-92, his sixth foul. There’s some room for debate on the merits of that call, but at the very least James sidesteps in a way that trips Lance Stephenson before the Heat forward is able to establish proper screening position.

The second call, a traveling violation against Dwyane Wade with 26.9 seconds left and the Heat still down 96-92, proved to be even more questionable. In that instance, the whistle came on a sequence that Wade executes in virtually every game: the one-dribble step-back. After losing Paul George with an initial pump fake, Wade takes a single dribble inside the three-point arc, hops back to his opposite foot behind the line and settles in for yet another pump fake. In real time, the slow speed of Wade’s step-back makes the move seem illegal. But by slowing down the footage and evaluating Wade’s move according to the wording of the traveling rule, we find that isn’t the case:

For reference, here is the full text of the relevant passage from the NBA’s 2012-13 official rules (Rule 10, Section XIII, item b):

“A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing must release the ball to start his dribble before his second step.

The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.”

The operative word is bolded above, as the most crucial determination to be made on this play is when Wade gains control of the ball. If he gathers his dribble either simultaneously or slightly after planting his foot (as appears to be the case), then his play is legitimate. If he gains control before taking that step, then it would count as the first in his sequence and thus make the play a violation.

In real time, the slow execution of Wade’s step-back seems to give it a physically impossible hitch — as if he paused for a brief moment in mid-air before landing. Plays with odd timing typically invite fan reaction and a possible whistle, and unfortunately Wade’s move proved too unusual for the officials to properly evaluate the legality of his footwork.

123 comments
GenevonParmesan
GenevonParmesan

The travel OBVIOUSLY takes place before the dribble.  What a waste of an article.  Wade is the most overrated "superstar" in the history of the NBA.

arivero92
arivero92

Very likely a travel before the dribble -- depends on whether he established his right as the pivot foot when he first caught the pass from Chalmers. Bang-bang play that could go either way, really. But I don't think that's what the refs were calling, since they NEVER call that in the NBA. And there was definitely no travel after the dribble.

ChristianCameron
ChristianCameron

You commenters have to be kidding me saying he travels before the pump fake! That is obviously not what the refs were calling, and you know it. He is already landing with his right foot as his hand touches the ball, and then he takes two steps. Please show me where that is ever called a travel.


And you all saying he was dribbling alredy aren't watching the video -- it was a bounce pass from Chalmers, not a dribble. Please watch the video again before responding.

sgtgrodin
sgtgrodin

"A player who receives the ball while he is progressing must release the ball to start his dribble before his second step."

The truth is that DW actually traveled BEFORE his first dribble.  If you count the jab-step backwards right before he dribbled, he took possibly four (and definitely three) steps BEFORE his dribble.  Per the rule above, DW was required to start his dribble "BEFORE" his second step.

DW traveled.

sgtgrodin
sgtgrodin

From the time DW first touches the ball, to when he is called for the travel, he TAKES SEVEN (7) STEPS -- BUT ONLY DRIBBLES ONCE.  There is no way, under the rules, that a player can take 7 steps with only one dribble and not travel.

super_mecha
super_mecha

Someone who plays basketball will know the rules much better then someone who just watches it.


The people who are saying wade didnt travel are the people who dont play basketball on a competent level.


james123
james123

Wade lifts his foot before he takes any dribble whatsoever - it was actually a VERY late call if you are going to get picky, his left foot clearly slides and lifts before he takes any dribble.  It's amazing you watched that whole sequence in slow motion and you missed that!!

BenjaminMaccabee
BenjaminMaccabee

BECAUSE HE DRIBBLES its not a travel, if youre going up for a layup you can stop dribbling mid air, plant your left, and then plant your right and you can lift your right foot as many times as you want. Wade catches the ball, fakes a shot, takes a dribble which basically resets the "travel clock" and then plants his right, NEVER PLANTS HIS LEFT and then does a step back, planting his left. Two steps, no travel. Refs are pricks. Prize? There is no prize. You lose. Good day, sir.

stuartmd
stuartmd

The officials in the NBA are by far the worst compared to any NBA sport.  They are consistently inconsistent and inept and ruin most of the games.  They look like a bunch of idiots doing a Laurel & Hardy act. I just don't understand how the league puts up with such mediocrity. I am sure things could be quite a bit better if the demand was there.  It would make it better for the players and fans.  Maybe it will change when David Stern finally retires.



PacersFansAreDelusional
PacersFansAreDelusional

:45 double stop 

:48 left is established pivot, back steps with right, (both feet even, so you have a choice which is pivot)

:49 begins to step forward with right, *maintaining pivot*, and dribbles, 

:50 plants right foot, then begins gather, etc... from here on out, just as Rob describes. 

Rob is exactly right. This was a terrible call. Sure, the 24 second call was bad too. But this bad call + the last two calls on LeBron (both terrible calls) were higher impact calls which basically took the game out of the hands of the players. Same goes for those three free throws Paul George got in OT a few games back. 

Some Pacer fans are also basketball fans, (same with Heat), but I think those aren't the ones chiming in right now. If Granger were around, this would be an epic series, but, instead, the Pacers (Lance Stephenson excluded) have to fall back on tip in and David West's special relationship with the officiating staff.

sporra01
sporra01

UGh the Pacers are as boring as the Spurs. Yawn.

carnage_2012
carnage_2012

As an unbiased fan to basketball, I read the rule and watched the video. This is how I see it, at :43 he takes control of the ball and takes his first step with his right foot and then second and third at which point he should've passed or took the shot. At :50 that is his first step and then subsequently second and third. He traveled 2 times. 6 steps 1 dribble

Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

The NO BASKETBALL Association tries to defend cheating all the time. It was clearly a travel , but much the same as these spoiled premadonnas get away with all year long. Athletes with this much talent do not need the advantage of cheating to gain an advantage.

Same goes with the hard foul.......read me the phrase in the rule book that defines a HARD foul.......you can't!

And some of the whinebag superstars complain when they are called for fouls because the fans "come to watch them play". It s cheating the game and a lack of respect for each other and the game! NBA basketball sucks.

SportPage
SportPage

Ridiculous call. The NBA stopped making realistic travelling calls 30 years ago, and then they suddenly decide to get technical?

That move should never have been called travelling in this day.

shadow_warrior
shadow_warrior

" ..The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.”

l think Rob is confused here with regards to the definition of 'gaining control' of the ball. Players can gain control of the ball using ONLY one hand. They don't have to use BOTH hands to gain control of the ball.   Wade GAINED CONTROL of the ball upon receipt of it with his LEFT hand and his LEFT foot touching the floor, thus making that step his FIRST step.


RaymondBlaineStewart
RaymondBlaineStewart

Rob, I enjoy your column but I think you missed this one.  First, you've ignored the "in coming to a stop" part of the rule.  Wade not only comes to a stop after collecting the ball, he *reverses direction*.  Wade's not entitled to two steps in any direction from whenever he picks up the ball, he's only entitled to two steps in coming to a stop.  

Second, playingitout is right that wade takes at least two steps before releasing the ball to start his dribble after he first recieves it.

Third, he seems to have his left foot on the three point line when he gathers and then seems to drag his left foot on the court about a foot inside the three point before picking it up and stepping outside the line (which the video labels as "first step").  Now it's hard to tell whether his left foot did touch down inside the threepoint line, but if it did, then it would count as a step (at least I think it would) and wade would be at three steps.

At any rate, I'd say a variation on John Madden's old saying ought to rule here: "if three random guys in bar are likely to think it's a travel, then it's a travel."

RS19
RS19

Because there are enough "haters" like you trying desperately to drown out the facts.

ParishToni1
ParishToni1

Wow, why doesn't the writer of this article just take a pic of him with pom poms yell "go heat" instead of beating us with this crap he wrote. There were plenty of "CRUCIAL" calls that went against Indy.  I'm not a fan of either team, but the calls were completely inconsistent both ways. Lebron got the same call when he stepped on Stevensons foot just a few minutes earlier. Why isn't it a foul later? Just because it's Lebron? He set an illegal screen and Stevenson almost fell. As for Wade's travel, he initially traveled when he made his move before the first dribble.  He clearly shuffles his feet before the first dribble.  That is called all the time now that it is a point of emphasis for refs to call.

StotheH
StotheH

Who is this writer?  

"The operative word is bolded above, as the most crucial determination to be made on this play is when Wade gains control of the ball. If he gathers his dribble either simultaneously or slightly after planting his foot (as appears to be the case), then his play is legitimate. If he gains control before taking that step, then it would count as the first in his sequence and thus make the play a violation."

There is nothing to determine.  Wade was DRIBBLING the ball.  He already had "control" of the ball.  The "control" language is for a player that receives a pass from another and might not yet have established control of the ball.  

Wade was holding the ball, pump-faking and then driving with the ball.  If he gains control before taking that step?  Are you frickin' kidding me?  He was dribbling the ball.  He had control.  

Stop writing these articles.

Epoch1
Epoch1

After reading all the comments and watching the replay I think one thing is pretty clear. NO ONE has any idea what a traveling violation is anymore... including the refs.

Wade took enough steps to win on Dancing with the Stars... but he's not the only guy that is allowed two hops, a skip, a jump and a spin or two.after he stops dribbling. The NBA is a sham

M20
M20

That hop was a hop, not a step. The "slow execution" is the issue - he stopped, then jumped back and landed without getting rid of the ball. Travel.

playingitout
playingitout

The notion that the league wanted IND to win to have more TV prior to the Finals requires a full-blown conspiracy, and I find that unlikely. Much more likely is the following explanation of the refs' apparent desire, at the end of the game, to throw it the Pacers' way: The refs probably heard about how badly they had blown the 24-second call on the Pacers. They knew that if the Pacers lost, they would NEVER hear the end of that. And they also knew that if the Pacers won, everyone would forget about that obvious blown call -- and that provided the motivation for them to whistle every little infraction they could find on Miami, at the end, to make sure they lost.

playingitout
playingitout

Sorry Rob, you missed the point. Wade travels when he FIRST gets the ball. Prior to any dribbling, he collects the ball and takes his 2 steps, his right foot landing last. Then, when he FIRST starts to move, he moves BOTH feet prior to the ball touching the floor as his dribble. That's a 100% traveling violation. You're looking at his motion after the travel. Wrong place to look. (Note: the whistle did come a couple of seconds late.)

AndersonCGoncalves
AndersonCGoncalves

It looks like SI is pro-Miami Heat. How about the non-existing 24 second violation against the Pacers, when in fact the ball had touched the rim, and therefore, the clock should have been reset.

TildenChen
TildenChen

Wade gains the ball, pump fakes, dribbles and steps back. He doesn't dribble between receiving the pass from Chalmers and pump faking.

slyfest
slyfest

6 steps, one dribble.

casualumberjack
casualumberjack

Looked like it was going to be a fun game to watch but the officiating at the end took all the joy out of it. Horrible calls on both sides. Joey Crawford is a drama queen and should be fired. If someone creates a petition to fire him I would gladly sign it.

ChristianCameron
ChristianCameron

And as for after the pump fake, there is clearly no travel. His left foot is the pivot, it is irrelevant that he takes a step backward with his right. He can do that 10 times, it doesn't matter, and it doesn't count as a step. After that, he dribbles, gathers with his right foot, and repositions his left foot (step 1), and brings back his right foot (step 2). That was a bad call, no way around it.


Not blaming the refs for the loss, but call a spade a spade, people.

ChristianCameron
ChristianCameron

That jab step with his right is NOT counted as a step. He can do that 10 times if he likes, it doesn't matter.

ChristianCameron
ChristianCameron

His right foot lands exactly as he touches the ball (not considered a first step), then he takes 2 steps. Everyone catches a pass that way, it is legal, and you know that is not what they were calling. Then his left is the pivot (it is irrelevant that he jabs his right backward, he can do that as much as he likes), dribbles, gathers with his right foot, then takes two steps. Not a travel. Do you see that now?

ChristianCameron
ChristianCameron

@james123 He doesn't lift his foot. His heal is slightly tilted upward, but he never lifts his foot.


It's amazing that YOU watched the slow motion and didn't realize the slow motion footage cut-off that foot from view. I guess you thuoght you could make stuff up, then? The real-time footage from 0:15-0:20 shows that you are wrong.

jtwong
jtwong

@BenjaminMaccabee two steps is needed but it has to be in a continuous motion. the way wade did it with his timing is more of one step back, then another step back, rather than one-two. 2 steps are meant for layup drives and stepback shots, but the way he did it, he delayed the 2nd step. obviously you never played basketball. if you did and your opponent did awkward steps like wade, you'd call a travel for sure

playingitout
playingitout

@PacersFansAreDelusional Not a Pacers fan here. I just like basketball. You are looking at the wrong place. Start at 0:30, and watch as he moves both feet prior to his dribble hitting the ground.

LBJ_is_king
LBJ_is_king

Hahaha can you count man?? Where did you get 6 from??

shadow_warrior
shadow_warrior

@carnage_2012 Wade gained control of the ball when he caught it with his left hand, then took another step with his right foot,which was his pivot foot. Would have been fine if he didn't take another step back, that's clearly a travel.

ThomYorke
ThomYorke

@ParishToni1 I was just going to say that. It's very likely he traveled twice in that play. And how LeBron got fouled for stepping on Stevenson, I'll never figure that out. I know if it's Indy in the finals it costs the NBA millions, but let them play.

super_mecha
super_mecha

@M20  

slow execution? lol. So when i go in for a layup i can wait 10 seconds in between a step.

playingitout
playingitout

@ChristianCameron  Before his dribble hits the floor, he moves both his feet. (The left foot movement is small, but real.) That's a travel. Call was technically correct.

sgtgrodin
sgtgrodin

@ChristianCameronNo matter how you slice it: A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing must release the ball to start his dribble before his second step."

Before his first dribble: DW (1) received the ball while progressing, (2) took two (or maybe even three) steps before "coming to a stop, passing, or shooting the ball," BUT (3) did NOT "start his dribble before the second step," as required by the rule. 

DW received the ball, took two (or three steps), pump-faked, jab-stepped, and then dribbled.  He traveled before the dribble because he did not "release the ball to start his dribble before his second step" upon receiving the ball in motion.  The travel was complete before his dribble, regardless of how/what the refs called.

You are simply wrong.

jtwong
jtwong

@ChristianCameron 

you can't take two steps back that slowly. when wade normally does a stepback it's much quicker and is not considered it a travel because once he stops dribbling, the stepback occurs very quickly. the fact that he did it after which appeared to be a termination of his dribble, then taking one step back, then the other foot followed, not as quickly, isn't legal. if you go play against someone in the gym and he stops his dribble, then takes one step back, and another, tell me you wouldn't call a travel on that play. 

playingitout
playingitout

@ChristianCameron @james123 There are several slow-motion shots here. The one that shows both feet very clearly (because it's a wider shot) starts at ~0:32, and at 0:33 you can clearly see him dragging his left foot -- in fact, moving BOTH feet before dribbling, when he already used up his allowed 2 steps coming to a stop. The moment he drags that left foot, he travels.  (As noted above, the left foot must be the pivot, because his right foot hit the ground last after the initial gather. But that point is actually irrelevant, because he moves BOTH feet prior to the dribble hitting the ground.)

carnage_2012
carnage_2012

When he took control of the ball his first step was his right foot.

M20
M20

@super_mecha @M20 ... you might want to actually read what I wrote before replying.

shadow_warrior
shadow_warrior

@carnage_2012 Right foot forward- step 1.

Step back with his left foot - step 2.

Lifted his right foot to set - step 3.

Three steps. Travel.