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Not top play: Confused NBA referee openly stalls game on national TV

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 12:15 p.m. MST

Billy Kennedy goofs on national TV

Everybody’s worst nightmare — OK, maybe just mine — is doing something embarrassing on national TV and not knowing it.

That is why I’m glad I’m not NBA referee Bill Kennedy.

The Los Angeles Lakers were trailing the San Antonio Spurs with 5:09 remaining in the fourth quarter when Laker coach Mike D’Antoni called for a full timeout, but really wanted a 20-second timeout. The only problem was, he didn’t have a 20-second timeout left.

Kennedy was under the impression that ESPN — the network on which the game was airing — had cut to commercial for a 20-second timeout, which left him in a tough spot.

He could either make ESPN stall after returning from the 20-second commercial during the remainder of the full timeout, or stall the game, in essence gifting the Lakers an extra timeout. Kennedy opted for the latter.

Except Kennedy was unaware of one small detail: ESPN never went to a commercial.

So, with an entire ESPN audience watching, Kennedy explained in detail his non-existent predicament to D’Antoni and to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“You called a full, and you wanted a 20,” Kennedy explained to D’Antoni. “You didn’t have one; you called it in the third quarter. TV went to a 20. … So what I’m doing is I’m stalling for commercial time and I need your help.”

In the middle of Kennedy's talk with the coaches, ESPN announcer Joe Barry interjected (though Kennedy couldn’t hear him), “Wait, Bill! We’re on you!” the announcer said. “You’re not fooling anybody.”

Kennedy probably found out about the error after the game. No word has come through, however, on how he felt about this little mistake.

Bonus: How to foul and not get caught...

Former Jazzman Andrei Kirilenko was guarding Kevin Durant in a Wednesday matchup, when apparently, Durant just got fed up with the Russian.

Durant shoved Kirilenko backwards into a cutting Russell Westbrook. Kirilenko, falling backwards, tried to regain his balance, flailing his arms as he went. His hand struck Westbrook's ear.

Westbrook clutched his ear in pain. A foul was called on Kirilenko.

How do you foul without getting caught? By shoving the opponent into your teammate.

Email: lhemsley@desnews.com; Twitter: @EarlOfHemsley

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