NBA  > General NBA  > THE NBA AND THE "FINAL SECOND".
June 16, 2011, 08:00 PM
i admit i am ignorant about most sports.. i follow a couple of teams in the nfl and thats all.. i am posting about the nba as i havent been able to find an answer anywhere else.. i understand this is a trivial matter to most fans, but it is important, if only to set me straight on what actually is correct.. please indulge my lack of awareness and tell me what you think only of the issue, and thanks..

about 20 years ago, the nba altered the way it kept time on the official clock.. it decided that the final second of a period of play would be kept by use of an additional timer that measured tenths of a second (0.1) with regular minutes and seconds.. this was exciting for players and fans, as a game could be decided by the final shot that would tie a game at the end of the 4th quarter, break a tie, or place a team that was behind by no more than 3 points ahead of the leading team.. the score at the final shot could not be more than a difference of 3 points, or the score could be tied..

the truth is, the nba made a big mistake.. it added a second to the regulation 15-minute quarter.. now, each regulation quarter is 15 minutes and 1 second; a total of 60 minutes and 4 seconds..

when the official clock shows 00:01.0 and then decrements to 00.9, .8, .7, etc., the final tenths of a second are not being counted, they are additional tenths of a second that were added, which exceeds the regulation 15-minute quarter; i doubt that anyone knew or would have approvd of such an idea.. of course, the nba may not have realized that it was lengthening the game.. i have to say that among the millions watching the games on tv, and the thousands watching in stadii everywhere, there must have been others who recognized the error and reported their observations to the nba..

when the official clock shows 00:01.0, and remains there for a full second, it then decrements to 00:00.0; the game is over.. the "1" shows for a full second, then changes to "0".. the tenths of a second which are shown by the official clock are factored in as part of this final second.. the official clock does show this when the clock counts from 2-seconds to 1-second.. the clock shows 00:02.0, 01.9, 01.8, 01.7, etc.. but, when the clock arrives at 00.0, time has expired.. when 01.9 has decremented to 01.0, 00.0 follows immediately and ends the game.. there is no reduction in the official clock from 01.0 to 00.9, .8, .7, etc.. to 00.0.. it doesn't exist, at least, not in a 15-minute quarter..

there is another aspect to this situation and that is the "optical illusion".. just as looking at a drawing that appears to "flip" when stared at for a long-enough period, the issue of the "fractional-second" could also be intepreted as an illusion of perspective in measuring time.. in other words, what tenths of a second does a full number "own"? the tenths above it, or the tenths below it? when 1-second decrements from 1.9 to 1.0, do the tenths of a second which are part of that point in time expire when one reaches zero, or do tenths of a second contine to mark-down from 0.9 to 0.0? imagine what the clock shows without a timer showing tenths of a second.. the clock marks-down from :02 to :01, and a second later, the clock shows 00:00, and the game ends.. without the timer that shows tenths of a second (but measuring that piece of time in our heads), we would see the clock mark-down from :01 to :00, but the game wouldn't end until another second beyond 00:00 had passed..

if someone were to place two scoreboard clocks side-by-side (with and without tenth-of-a-second clocks), and run them down from five to zero seconds, i wonder if both would arrive at zero at the same time or would one reach zero when the other had time remaining? this would be interesting to see on youtube..
June 17, 2011  11:44 PM ET

Einstein would say if one is closer to the earth it would move slower

June 18, 2011  10:27 PM ET

It was hard for me to believe your logic after you said NBA quarters are 15 minutes long when they're actually 12 minutes long.

June 20, 2011  06:30 AM ET

i apologize.. i thought hi-school and pro were 15-mi; college is :20.. here is what i said in the first paragraph:

i admit i am ignorant about most sports.. i follow a couple of teams in the nfl and thats all.. i am posting about the nba as i havent been able to find an answer anywhere else.. i understand this is a trivial matter to most fans, but it is important, if only to set me straight on what actually is correct..

so, cm04, i admitted my ignorance, i made a mistake, you set me straight, i apologized.. now, can we get back to the subject?

 
June 20, 2011  05:23 PM ET

bballdoctor
why would one of the scoreboards be closer to the ground? i dont get it..

Comment

Remember to keep your posts clean. Profanity will get filtered, and offensive comments will be removed.


Truth & Rumors

MOST POPULAR

  1. 1
    Kerr 'absolutely expects' Knicks offer
    Views
    1363
    Comments
    1431
  2. 2
    Bryant headed back to Germany
    Views
    4279
    Comments
    930
  3. 3
    Shakeup looms for White Sox
    Views
    6014
    Comments
    336
  4. 4
    Yankees, Mets, Red Sox among Hanrahan hopefuls
    Views
    1926
    Comments
    167
  5. 5
    No return timetable for Lightning MVP
    Views
    633
    Comments
    140

SI.com

SI Photos