Two serious errors in 0,6 seconds.


With six tenths of a second (0.6) to go in the 2nd game of the LEB 2 playoffs between WTC Cornella and Imaje Sabadell Gapsa on April 29, 2006, a three-point field goal was granted to WTC Cornella which was not only achieved after regulation time had expired but also after the player committed a traveling violation.





Player Marco Fernandez (WTC Cornellą) moves toward his teammate who is inbounding the ball at half court, receives the ball 9 meters from the basket with his back toward it, spins to the right while pivoting on his right foot, shoots, and manages to score.  The time on the game clock was 0.6 seconds and the duration of this action, from the time he catches the ball until he releases it, lasted .92 seconds.

The execution of the play is of high quality with reference to:

a) Motor control. (Especially to the level of kinesthesic discrimination-control and segmentary differentiation).
b) Spatial implementation. (Especially to the level of direction and orientation).
c) Forecast of events with temporal limits. (The player acts with anticipation to the non-reception situation of his teammates and offers an alternative solution).

The execution of the play is of low quality with reference to:

a) Temporal adaptation. (It is not adjusted to the requirement of 0.6 seconds of time because the execution lasts 0.92 seconds).
b) Processes of short programming. (The player selects a shooting action of excessive duration).
c) Strategy of individual decision. (The player does not adapt to the action of the defender to elect a shot of smaller duration than 0.6 seconds).
d) Fulfillment of the rules (The player travels).

Consequently, from a global performance point of view, the execution of the player's action is not efficient.
Reference of the type of analysis:

It is not the point to reduce merit to the execution of Marco Fernandez's move, a young and talented player, but it does make us recall the spectacular baskets that the excellent international playmaker Albert Oliver made with limited time. 2.

Reference to athletic action/movement execution times with upper (a) and lower (b) bodies in tenths of seconds:

a) A finger tap of a professional volleyball player approximately 0.1 seconds.
b) Two strides of an elite sprinter: approximately 0.5 seconds.


From a bird's eye view, Imaje Sabadell Gapsa played defense without fouling for 0.6 seconds and forced a player from WTC Cornella to receive the ball 9 meters from the basket with his back to it.  The player was going through his shooting motion while still in possession of the ball when time expired.  It took WTC Cornella 4.61 seconds to inbound the ball, and when they did inbound it the only player available was 9 meters from the basket facing the wrong direction.  These are facts that support the idea that WTC Cornella did not achieve the tactical alternative to complete the play that they had planned for 0.6 seconds of time.

Examples of aspects to consider in the tactical-strategic scenario for the final 0.6 seconds of the game (Cornella 61 - Sabadell 63 / both teams with more than 4 fouls):

A) For the offensive team (WTC Cornella):
- Objective.
2-point field goal (overtime).
3-point field goal (victory).
2-or-3-point field goal (overtime or victory).
Seeking to be fouled was never a priority alternative.
- Play.
With one or more alternatives for a 2-point shot. With one or more alternatives for a 3-point shot. With a 2-point shot as a main option and a 3-point shot as a secondary option, or viceversa.
Mainly to foresee problems with defensive changes/switches, double teams, and denied passing lanes. It would be in their best interest to plan more than one alternative to complete the play.
- Player that inbounds the ball from half court (an excellent passer to make collective decisons with limited time).
- Characteristics of the player (or players in the case of secondary and main options) to perform the shot. The best player for this type of shot is one with the most experience and cold blood.
- Types of shots that can be achieved in less than 0.6 seconds.
Tip of the ball near the hoop.
Volleyball tap.
Dunk (reception in the final phase).
2 or 3-point shot. The catching of the ball, from the air or ground, should be performed when the shooting arm is in the final phase of the shot.
- Actions of forgetfulness, deceit or suprise.
- Player on the court that transmits serenity/security and that organizes/directs his teammates if necessary.
- Considerations of the most creative and experienced players.

B) For the defensive team (Imaje Sabadell Gapsa):
- Objective.
No fouls (preferred alternatives).
Switching on all screens and cutting down passing angles.
Switches on all screens and the "extra" defender (of the inbounder) performs a selective double team or situates himself in a certain area to pick off the pass.
Switches on selective screens with help of the "extra" defender.
Selective help on receptions close to the 3-point line. (giving priority to reception inside the 3-point line or way behind it).     The player who best intercepts lob passes, in a zone or defending the player closest to the basket (this way he can avoid getting back picked).
Match-up zone for specific shooters and lob passes.
Mixed defense (man-to-man defense on 2 shooters and 3 floating defenders with priority given to shooters and lob passes near the basket).                                                                                Foul.
Foul (a selected player) before reception (2 free throws for the opposition) and a time out (typical psychological pressure and then inbounding the ball from half court).
Foul after receiving the ball runs the risk of giving up a basket and a free throw.
- Forecast of coverage changes according to the initial disposition of the offense.
- Player who defends the man inbounding the ball (who has sufficient height and good arm/hand coordination).
Defending the inbounder. Forcing a lob pass and/or denying passing lanes around the 3 point-line according to other defensive actions.
Not defending the inbounder. Using that "extra" defender to prevent selected players from receiving the ball, so as to be able to carry out a double team on the receiver before and after the pass, or to collaborate on the interception of the pass in a certain area.
- Defend shots that could be released in less than 0.6 seconds.
Tip of the ball near the hoop.
Volleyball tap.
Dunk (reception in the final phase).
2 or 3-point shot (in the final phase).
- Actions of forgetfulness, deceit or suprise.
- Player on the court that transmits intimidation/security and that organizes/directs his teammates if necessary.
- Considerations of the most creative and experienced players.


Imaje Sabadell Gapsa was well prepared for these playoffs and had the necessary conviction and mental stronghold to achieve the promotion to LEB1 (Spanish second division). The proof lies in the first game of the series, when Sabadell overcame a 19 point deficit and went on to win by 7 points.

Initiating the third game of the best of 5 series tied at 1 game a piece or with a 2-0 advantage changes the dynamics of the series on all levels.

Certain accumulated and subsequent performances related to the unjust basket granted to WTC Cornella in the second game caused a psychological effect in Imaje Sabadell Gapsa that is difficult to determine, quantify, and appraise.

By the evaluation of their actions, it is probable that the players of Imaje Sabadell Gapsa had the sensation that nobody fought with sufficient force.

The third game was played without the participation of the starting point guard of Imaje Sabadell Gapsa, Cristian Oliva.

With this situation, Imaje Sabadell Gapsa did not know how to configure a mental state of sufficient tranquility, concentration, and motivation to confront the third and fourth games of the playoff series with certain guarantees. They did not manage to forget all the adversity they were dealing with and think only about playing basketball.

In the third game of the series WTC Cornella had 14 more opportunities to score than Imaje Sabadell Gapsa (besides having both an offensive rebound and blocked shot differential of +10).
In the first, second, and fourth games Imaje Sabadell Gapsa had 12, 13, and 12 more opportunities to score than WTC Cornella, respectively. (This data includes the "correction factor" in regards to free throws).  In the fourth game Imaje Sabadell Gapsa shot 28% from three point land (8/28) while WTC Cornella shot 55% (11/20).
The third and fourth games were also competitive and WTC Cornella came out on top in both encounters

Obviously, there is no intention to undervalue the powerful team of WTC Cornella.  They had the best record of any team in the league during the second half of the regular season, and also played excellent basketball in the playoffs.

Besides, the athletic spectacle was guaranteed since all players and coaches demonstrated an excellent attitude throughout the playoffs.


The analysis of the videotape of the game does not allow us to verify if the offical timekeeper stopped the game clock punctually and appropriately when Roger Fornas' shot fell for Imaje Sabadell Gapsa.  Therefore, we should assume the remaining time of 0.6 seconds is correct.

Two serious errors in the final 0.6 seconds of the second game of the promotion-to-LEB1 playoffs are committed:
A) A valid 3-point basket is granted even though it occurred after regulation time had expired.
B) The referees do not call traveling.

The timekeeper responsible for activating the game clock presses the button 0.52 seconds late. A minimum error of the transmission devices and the sounding of the buzzer are assumed.  Delays and anticipations of 0.5 seconds are frequent in laboratory studies simulating temporal and spatial conditions. The timekeeper's situation (seated with players and/or referees), does not allow for clear vision of the movements of players with high requirements for capacities of temporal and spatial perception.  This will always cause delays or anticipations in the activation of the game clock.

The referees communicate among themselves for 2-3 seconds and then with the main official at the scorer's table for 1-3 seconds before deciding that the basket counts.  There is no evidence that they discuss the traveling violation.


Neither of the teams (UB Sabadell and WTC Cornella) presented a formal complaint in regards to the 2nd game of the playoffs in which a basket had been granted after the game clock had expired.

The supporters of the UB Sabadell team, during the third and fourth games of the playoff series, demanded that a formal complaint be filed for the 2nd game.

The responsible managers of UB Sabadell did not prepared any complaint in writing to protest the injust action and also did not directed any complaint to the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB)

This same basketball season (2005-2006), the FEB analyzed the videotape of a game involving Inca and Murcia (LEB 1) after a formal complaint had been filed, and when they found that an error had been committed they had the teams re-play the last few seconds of the game.

The case that we present here is significantly different.  In this instance, at the conclusion of the game-without need to analyze the video-all the experts and responible parties in the arena knew, without any doubt, that a serious mistake was being made by awarding a basket that could not possibly have been made within 0.6 seconds.

There is no evidence that the referees, table officials, or any members of the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) that were present carried out any subsequent analysis at the conclusion of the game, nor is there any evidence that a single action to repair this serious error had ever been considered.
Can anybody imagine an Olympic final in which the sprinter that won the 100-meter race has 0.3 seconds added to his official time because of a chronometric error?

In the synopsis of the game on the official web page of the FEB (, no comment exists regarding the final basket. The synopsis of the game on the web page of WTC Cornella ( is identical to that of the FEB, with the exception of one phrase, and once again nothing is mentioned in respect to the final basket.

In an ACB (first division) game during this same season (2005/2006), a basket was granted even though time had already expired.  After the game involving Leche Rio Breogan and Unicaja Malaga (11/12/2005), Sergio Scariolo3  studied the videotape of the last shot of the home team.  After having analyzed the last 3 tenths of a second with precision and care, he could affirm without any doubt that the shot of Djuro Ostojic occurred outside of regulation time.

Imaje Sabadell Gapsa:
Has the lowest budget of any of the LEB 2 teams.
Does not have professional management/directors/leadership.
The continuance in the LEB2 division is the only objective/goal of the season (in regards to results).
It is only possible to conduct practice sessions in the afternoons. (80% of the players are not professional). The rest of the LEB2 teams are professional and can practice whenever they choose.
Played more games than any other team with only 7 or 8 players. (depleted roster).
Txema Solsona is one of only two head coaches in the league (the other being the coach of Valls) that is a part-time employee.

Joan Blanch (Radio Sabadell) :  "This has been the best season in the history of Imaje Sabadell Gapsa and Unio Basquet Sabadell: semifinalists in the LEB 2 Cup, alone in first place for a few weeks, and a sixth place finish at the conclusion of the regular season with participation in the playoffs for the LEB2 title."     Their players, due to an unjust referee decision, could not continue to show their talent in the playoffs to move up to LEB1.
Outstanding Cum Laude 2005-2006 to the team.


It is evident that basketball needs to improve the rules for shot situations with limited time. The rules of the NBA ("Elastic Power"4)) allow the referees to make decisions not specified in the rules. Also ("Expiration of Time"4)), they solve some of these situations by defining the minimum limits of time to perform determined actions. Examples: a) 0.1 seconds for a tip-in without control of the ball near the hoop or a dunk after a lob pass, b) 0.3 seconds for a tip-in or controlled shot after a lob pass, c) more than 0.3 seconds for a field goal attempt. Something that is very significant is that the NBA referees have the power to determine whether or not a shot was made within regulation time, regardless if the buzzer had/had not sounded.

A line of improvement already has been proposed by players, coaches, and referees to provide precise information to referees on the possible times of execution to perform different shots. Thus, independently of when the horn sounded, the referee would be able to decide with better criterion if a shot was possible within a certain amount of time. This solution would be applicable to all divisions and ages. In upper divisions this criterion could be accompanied by the fast analysis of the video when doubtful situations arise, just as it is done in the NBA.

One must thank enormously Victor Mas (head of international officiating and FIBA commissioner) for his interest to analyze this impossible basket, and also for presenting a proposal to improve  these aspects of the rules.

The first and main reason of this article is to bring attention to an injustice in the world of sport. Aside from being information of technical character, this article also tries to motivate a constructive reflection of all of the responsible parties that could have fought for the just evaluation of the impossible basket.

An athlete deserves that his/her actions are evaluated fairly. One must aspire to present an egalitarian and democratic sports ethic that maintains positions of greater dignity and auto-responsibility.




1 Seirul·lo Vargas (1986-1990). Apuntes sobre Fundamentos de la Motricidad Humana. Universidad de Barcelona.

2 Albert Oliver (2006). The Magic Basket 2006.

3 Scariolo, S. (2005). Canasta Fuera de Tiempo.

4 NBA (2006). Official Rules of the National Basketball Association.



La Cistella Impossible, dos errors greus en 0,6 segons
Versió en catalą i sense noms propis de l'article, publicat i adaptat per la Revista de l'Associació Catalana d'Entrenadors de Basquetbol ACEB, marē 2012.




David Ribera-Nebot
Superior Basketball Coach, Spanish Basketball Federation - 1987
Bachelor of Movement Sciences


English review by Brett Beeson, MVP of the LEB2 2005-2006


Designed by  JDL

© DRN 2006