Bender delivered the pass to Chandler, who threw home a rim-rattling dunk over the Grizzlies’ Brandan Wright with 0.4 seconds to go.
“My job was to punch it in. It was close,” said Chandler, who finished with seven points and six rebounds. “It might have hit the back rim, but I caught it over the cylinders because I knew there was no goaltending.”
Officials, however, had to review the play, as it appeared that Chandler goaltended to get the ball home. As it turns out, there’s no goaltending rule in that situation.
“I was trying to create a play where you could score with like three-tenths of a second or something, and I thought tonight was a good time to do it,” Suns interim coach Jay Triano said. “I put it on about two or three days after I took over the job here, and it’s a rule that a lot of people don’t know. You cannot goaltend a ball that isn’t going to count, so I told our guys, ‘Shoot the ball in the basket, and all Tyson has to do is touch it on the way down or grab the rim and have it hit your knuckle on the way in.’ I asked the officials when they come and do their clinics and seminars with the coaches, I asked them that 15 years ago when I was in Toronto. I asked them about it, and they had to go back and look at it, and I’ve tried to keep it a secret, and it’s not a secret anymore.”
It might not be a secret anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to explain to the players.
“What’s crazy about that play is that I didn’t know that was the rule. We went over it one day in practice, and I thought coach was crazy,” said Suns guard Devin Booker, who had a game-high 32 points in his first game after missing three weeks due to injury. “I thought it was some overseas rule. [Triano] said he looked it up in the rule book and said if you shoot it from out of bounds and if it’s going in, your team can touch it so it sounds more like a .2 or .3 seconds left play, but it worked well for us tonight.”
“They just made a play, a perfect pass,” Memphis’ Wright said.
Fittingly, Tuesday’s victory gave Triano his 100th win as a head coach. He had 87 while coach of the Raptors from 2008 to 2011, and he has 13 since taking over for Earl Watson, who was fired after three games this season.