The Cleveland Cavaliers have faced so much adversity in what has been a tumultuous 2023-24 season thus far, and now, they have even more issues to contend with after a bit of late-game drama in their 124-121 loss to the Toronto Raptors to begin the new year. With the Raptors leading by two, 123-121, with 2.6 seconds left, Pascal Siakam was able to inbound the ball safely to Scottie Barnes in the backcourt. However, Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff did not think that Siakam should have been legally allowed to do so.
After all, Bickerstaff believes that Siakam shuffled his feet on the sideline inbound — a blatant traveling violation. That, however, was not called. Barnes proceeded to make a free-throw to at least prevent the threat of a game-winning field-goal, and with the Cavs out of timeouts, Max Strus had to launch a difficult pass from the opposite baseline, which Barnes was able to intercept, sealing defeat for Cleveland.
“He traveled for sure. There was no doubt about it. When you inbound the ball on the sideline after a timeout, you’re not allowed to move. And he clearly worked his way up the sideline. That’s a violation. The ball should have been ours with a chance to win the game,” the Cavs head coach said in his postgame presser, per Bally Sports Cleveland.
"He traveled for sure. There's no doubt about it."
Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on the last possession of the game with Pascal Siakam inbounding. Coach believes Cleveland is playing the right way and doing it together. pic.twitter.com/2H0xndZvjR
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) January 2, 2024
Now, Pascal Siakam clearly shuffled his feet to pull off the sideline inbound pass over Jarrett Allen. He moved a couple of inches to his left, moving both of his feet to get a much better passing lane to Scottie Barnes. This, according to the rulebook, is a violation.
According to NBA.com, the “thrower-in is not permitted to move from the spot that he’s in when he receives the ball from the official.” So there appears to be strong merit in what the Cavs head coach is asserting, as Siakam did not have his feet planted on the ground for the duration of the inbounds play.
Whatever the case may be, this no-call is not what lost the Cavs the game. They fell behind by double-digits to the Raptors, necessitating a huge comeback in the fourth quarter, and then their offensive execution during crunch time wasn’t exactly the best.