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Love it or Hate it? The NBA Challenge Flag


Oct. 13, 2019

The challenge flag in the NFL has become about as American as apple pie. An important part of any Sunday football viewing party.  This season, the NBA has decided to join the replay review club.
According to the new rule, each team is allowed one challenge per game, can challenge a personal foul at any time, can challenge out-of-bounds and goaltending during the first 46 minutes and first three minutes of overtime, and cannot challenge non-calls.
Confused yet? Ok, let's take a deeper dive.
Coach Stotts has used the challenge twice this preseason. He used one in the first preseason game against Denver, and lost. On Saturday against the Suns he challenged a foul against Damian Lillard , and won. The call was overturned, and possession was given to the Blazers. Despite winning the challenge, the Blazers lost a timeout... Still confused? So was Coach Stotts:
There's some confusion on the administration of it.  We won the challenge and were still charged the timeout. I don't know. I'm going to ask for some clarification on that.
Here is the clarification. According to the NBA "If neither team has taken a timeout prior to 6:59 of the first or third period, it shall be mandatory for the Official Scorer to take it at the first dead ball and charge it to the home team."
The challenged played happened at the 5:58 mark of the third quarter, meaning regardless of the challenge there was to be a dead ball and the Blazers were to be charged a timeout. If Portland had lost the challenge they would have lost the timeout, if they had won, they would have lost timeout. Basically, Stotts called a challenge one minute and two seconds too late to save a timeout but still would have lost one at the next stoppage due to the NBA's mandatory timeout rules.  None of this makes sense, really.
Talking to NBC Sports Bay Area, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he wasn't a fan of the new rule:
"I don't like the rule... If it's your timeout coming up, or if there's a mandatory coming up that's yours, or if you're on the bad end of a run and you see something that's questionable, you might as well take the timeout and review it. That way there's no harm done if you don't get the call."
The moral of the story is, just use the dang thing during the mandatory timeout. You literally have nothing to lose.
The jury is still out on the NBA's complicated challenge rule. Love it or hate it, it's part of the game in 2019.
Below is an educational video released by the NBA with more info on the new challenge rule:
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