Ref Helps Israeli Basketball Team Win Game with Inadvertent Assist

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Ever find yourself in the right place at the completely wrong time?

If so, you’ll probably sympathize with the plight of a basketball official who accidentally boosted an Israeli basketball team to victory after serving up a game-winning assist to one of its shooters.

The strange incident was spotted by Pete Blackburn of Next Impulse Sports, and it occurred during the final minute of a game Tuesday between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Hapoel guard Derwin Kitchen drove into the left side of the paint under the Maccabi basket and attempted a wild, leaping dish to the perimeter. 

The pass was intended for teammate Yotam Halperin, but found another open man instead—a hapless referee.

Unable to evade the pass, the referee raised his hands and deflected the ball directly to Halperin, who chucked up what would be the game-winning three-pointer.

There was nothing purposeful about the deflection, but the matter certainly couldn’t have worked out any better for the team from Jerusalem, which held on to the lead and won the game by a score of 87-85. 

Unintentional referee assists aren’t a new phenomenon in the game. Every year or so, some unfortunate referee catches a ball in the arm or hip and ends up accidentally helping a team.

We saw it happen off an errant Lamar Odom pass a while back. 

Chris Wilcox also managed to convert a big dunk in transition off a referee deflection.

Weirder things than a referee assist have happened in the game of basketball, but this may be the first time such an instance has actually decided the outcome of a game.

Maccabi players and coaches weren’t happy about it, but there is a bright side, sports fans—it’s not like these can happen twice. 

I may have jinxed it.


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