NBA: No backcourt violation on inbounds to Wade

Updated: June 21, 2006, 5:18 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The NBA said Tuesday that there was no backcourt violation on the play that led to Dwyane Wade's winning free throws in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

After the Miami Heat's 101-100 overtime victory over Dallas on Sunday night, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said an assistant coach showed him a tape that led his team to believe that Wade should have been called for a turnover when he caught an inbounds pass to begin the possession.

"My understanding from the rule book is, if you are going to catch the ball in the backcourt, you have to be in the backcourt to catch it," Cuban said.

Not true, according to Rule 4, Section VI, which deals with frontcourt/backcourt.

Replays showed that Wade leaped near midcourt to catch the ball in the air, landing with possession in the backcourt.

Part of the rule states that, "frontcourt/backcourt status is not attained until a player with the ball has established a positive position in either half during a throw-in in the last 2 minutes of the fourth period and/or any overtime period."

Because Wade was in the air when he caught the ball, league spokesman Tim Frank said his position wasn't determined until he landed. And since another rule allows for the ball to be thrown into the backcourt at that time, there was no violation.

"I knew I was straight," Wade said Tuesday morning after shootaround. "I know the rules. I knew it wasn't a backcourt."

Cuban, who was fined $250,000 by the league on Tuesday for his actions after the game, said before Game 6 that he had gotten two different answers about the rule.

"It all comes down to Stu Jackson," Cuban said. "It won't be the first time that my understanding of a rule is wrong. It won't be the first time where there's the need for clarity going forward and they make the clarity when they change the rulebook. That just happens, that's OK. Right or wrong, it's done."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press