The NBA said its referees acted appropriately in awarding Chauncey Billups a three-point basket that should not have counted. Wait, what? Via Brian Schmitz, here's Joel Litvin, the NBA's President of Basketball Operations, commenting on the play. Emphases mine:
"After reviewing the video of last night's Pistons-Magic game, we determined that the play that concluded with Chauncey Billups' three-point field goal at the end of the third quarter took approximately 5.7 seconds. Because there were only 5.1 seconds remaining in the quarter when the play began, the shot would not have counted had the clock continued to run.
"The referees followed proper procedure in addressing the clock malfunction by estimating the elapsed time and using their judgment as to whether the shot was taken in time. Under NBA rules, the referees did not have the option of using instant replay and a timing device to determine exactly how much time had elapsed, nor do the rules allow for a re-play after a clock malfunction is discovered. The NBA Competition Committee was scheduled to discuss the possible expanded use of instant replay at its meeting at the end of the month and we will raise, for the Committee's consideration, the use of replay in situations like this."
The apology doesn't help us any, but if nothing else it highlights the absurdity of the replay rules as they currently stand.