Thursday, March 1, 2007
I'm not one to subscribe to conspiracy theories. They usually presume too much competence. But yesterday's post on the Knicks' pathetic lack of assists combined with this morning's box score could be a diabolical statistical inflation situation. Somebody at the NBA could be going through box scores and giving extra assists though a game's official scorer decided none were deserved. According to the box score for last night's game, the Knicks finished with 22 assists as a team. But the play-by-play information at CBS Sportsline shows the Knicks only had seven, including zero in the first half.
A conspiracy theorist would say this is like the Yankees deciding after a game that when Derek Jeter kicked a grounder then bounced his throw, that was really a hit not an error. But my story is more likely to result from human operator error.
You've heard the phrase "senior moment" used to describe the failing memory of old people? Well, at Get Untracked we coined the phrase "Sportsline Moment" for those times my buddy and I would follow out-of-town NFL games on Sportsline and see them report the impossible. The GameCenter might tell us a negative-65 yard pass was just completed, then a minute later realize the mistake and fix it.
More often, Sportsline would stop updating a game for indeterminate periods because something strange happened and they needed time to explain it (e.g., T.Jones right tackle to CHI 28 for 17 yards (A.Dyson, V.Hobson). FUMBLES (A.Dyson), RECOVERED by NYJ-K.Rhodes at CHI 35. K.Rhodes to CHI 35 for no gain (T.Jones). Play Challenged by CHI and REVERSED. T.Jones right tackle to CHI 28 for 17 yards (A.Dyson, V.Hobson).) The most blatant Sportsline Moment last season was when Sportsline told us a game was FINAL with Team A having won, while we watched live bonus coverage on TV of Team B kicking a game-winning field goal with one second left.
Because Sportsline's "GameCenters" simply pick up the feed from NFL.com, Sportsline Moments ensure that the play-by-play we read on the screen is the official account from the NFL. My mistake in last night's post was failing to realize that Sportsline has no special agreement with the NBA. I do, however, stand by the spirit of my post: Marbury is an awful point guard, Frye and Curry never pass the ball, and Isiah Thomas should be fired. Who can argue with that? If I had been following the game at NBA.com, I would have seen play-by-play giving the Knicks nine assists in the first half, not zero.
(Why, you ask, am I following an NBA game online when I could be watching my hometown Knicks on TV? Because I work 14-hour days and am still at the office at 10:00 at night, that's why. I'm a little bitter.)
In any event, now I know that Sportsline is useless for tracking stats of individual players during a live NBA game, and that I should use NBA.com for that purpose. And knowing is half the battle!