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Shades of George Brett and the Pine Tar Issue.
The NBA will play (or replay) a game for the first time since Ronald Reagan was in the White House when Atlanta and Miami lace it up at Philips Arena Saturday night. For those of us that came in late, here's how we got to where we are. The Hawks' stat crew inadvertantly thought that Shaquille O’Neal, who is no longer on the Heat roster, fouled out. The Heat protested the error, which caused them to lose to the Hawks in Atlanta. Miami won the protest and the Hawks were fined $50,000 for the error.
The Hawks left the court that night with a 117-111 victory, but commissioner David Stern struck it from the books after the home team’s stat crew mistakenly ruled that O’Neal had fouled out with less than a minute to go in overtime.
The upside for both teams? They can restock their rosters, according to Stern, who ruled Monday that both teams can fill out any openings on their 12-man active roster with players acquired since the disputed game. The Hawks need this game (or the 51.9 seconds) as well as the regularly scheduled game, which will be played after a rest period.
Let's hope the Hawks get this one right. They need all the help they can get and not lose twice to Miami, a team so bad even the Pittsburgh Pythons could beat them. Atlanta hasn't had a winning season since a young man named Wilkins roamed the Omni floor.