Mar. 1, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns center Jermaine O

Was Jermaine O’Neal’s Goaltending Intentional?


In the final seconds of last night’s game between the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets, Jermaine O’Neal was whistled for goaltending at the buzzer on a James Harden three-pointer which ultimately gave Houston the win with a bow on top.

“It was off the rim, for sure,” O’Neal said. “He (Jones) is saying it was still in the cylinder when I did it. The problem is that they called goaltend and counted the basket before they did the review. So there’s not enough evidence to change the call. You should make sure that’s the call you should make, and it should be clarified before you say, `Basket counts.”

Bottom line, clearly O’Neal affected the shot, and it was indeed goaltending.

Here’s the thing, O’Neal is a veteran, a veteran who’s been in the league for a 16-years, a veteran who possesses relatively high  basketball-IQ. The buzzer had already sounded, he had no reason to touch the basketball, he knows better.

Some may call or think it’s a brain fart but there are reasons to believe it was intentional. O’Neal knows better. O’Neal didn’t need to touch that ball, it wasn’t going to go in, and all he had to do was box-out 6’1 point guard Patrick Beverely(Who was fighting O’Neal for the rebound), O’Neal didn’t need to jump with him; I doubt O’Neal would have problems boxing out the 6-foot guard.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld tweeted this yesterday after the game: “Jermaine O’Neal brain fart or Phoenix Suns tank job?”

Jared Dudley tweeted this after the game “Wow!! I never lost a game like that before in my life.. Just one of those seasons I guess..”

Maybe J.D is right and it’s just one of those New York Jet like seasons but the O’Neal goaltending play was certainly sketchy. The Suns are in competition with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third worst overall record in the NBA which essentially means the third best chance to win the lottery in May.

“They called three or four calls late in the game that helped determine the outcome of the game,” O’Neal said.

Had the Suns beat the Rockets last night, there would only be a 1/2 game separating the Suns and Cavaliers in the standings given that the Cleveland lost to the Pacers last night.

The Suns are 1 1/2 games behind of the Cavaliers right now in the overall standings as the Suns are ahead of the Bobcats and Magic in terms of winning percentage. That means if the season ended tonight, the Suns would have the third best chance in the lottery. The Cavaliers have five games remaining on their season against the Pistons, Knicks, Sixers, Heat and the Bobcats to close out their season.

Was O’Neal’s goaltending intentional? Tough to say, but one can certainly make a case for it.

Tags: Houston Rockets James Harden Jermaine O'neal Phoenix Suns

  • Sam

    Are you serious asking if this was Intentional? The whole 23-55 season’s record was intentional. The team plays good for half or 3/4 or until it’s time to turnover or miss and lose. Brown is on the bnch because he scores. Haddadi was benched for Houston because the last time he blocked Harden and suns won, Hunter keeps starting 6’9″ Scola against 7-footers causing 0-10 run by them, all intentional. When they want to slow the game they bring Twins, O’Neal and Scola. Yes Sir, the games are rigged the modern-way, to lose intentionally to profit by qualifying for bargain-priced top draft-picks. And if someone sees it, all they have to do is to act upset or frustrated over losing or comeup with some technical malfunction excuse.
    They’re insulting our intelligence and NBA should change the rules regarding draft-pick qualifying of teams.

    • Matthew

      Sam, I won’t argue that the Suns have been “Tanking” BUT! There are reasons for the Suns starting Scola > O’Neal, I’ll have an article up about that later on this week. Brown has gotten benched because the Suns want to see what Wesley Johnson can do, to see if he can bring more to the table than Brown so they can make an informed decision this off-season. Last night was a bit sketchy, but the whole “Tanking” Strategy hasn’t worked out too well in the NBA(Look at the Bobcats). The Suns weren’t expected to win more than 30 games this season anyway. If the Suns were truly tanking as hard as you make them out to be, they certainly could have done a better job in that aspect. Love your passion about the Suns Sam, always appreciate a great fan.

      • Sam


        Tonight against Dallas Suns played as if they were OKC! It clearly showed that the green-light was on to win. I’m guessing they won because New Orleans & Sacramento are comfortable 3.5 games ahead of them so Suns might even finish the remainder of games with wins to leave the fans with some positive memory out of this season.

        Shannon-Brown benching might be to play Wes and see what he can do(even though that could’ve been assessed after 5 games) but what is benching of Haddadi for? To see what O’Neal can do? :)) Right after O’Neal went 2-12 & made the game-losing touch with Houston he got back doing another 2-12 with Dallas!

        • Matthew

          O’Neal has had two bad games, but he’s been as consistent as any other Suns player this season(Except the past couple of games). His PER leads the team, and his expanded numbers are as good as anyone else on the Suns. I like Haddadi but in reality, he’s a slower/bigger version of Lou Amundson, a big who brings a lot of hustle, energy, and toughness on the defensive side of the ball, however that’s about it. Wes Johnson has had his moments but I do think Brown would’ve been a better option from a competitive stand point. The Suns need to see what they would get out of Johnson for an extended stretch in order to determine whether or not they’ll re-sign him this offseason. To be frank, I don’t believe the Suns should bring Johnson back, one trick pony, let him walk.

          • Sam

            I, like many, believe that the best offense is a good defense. O’Neal is only good when he blocks and hustles, even with a foul, but I kept record of every player since Haddadi got signed and Hamed is still +6 in the (=/-) column while in the same 14 games he played in, the others are -43 Marshall to -167 Johnson. O’Neal played in 7 of those games with -67. I think O’Neal can make a good forward as long as there is a 7′+ center in the game but he’s too short for a center and too heavy to jump for rebounds, he’s more like Zach-Randolph of Memphis with little less toughness and lot more arrogance, he keeps arguing the calls and acting immature. I like Wes Johnson, he’s athletic and accurate, his only problem is his brainfarts! and off and on wrong decisions and I think that will get better with experience. He’s a good scorer that needs to get polished better. I think Suns should keep Tucker, Johnson, Haddadi, Dudley, and let the rest go. Dragic is 50-50 in my mind, I like his ball-handling and occasional toughness but I see a shade of selfishness in him that bothers me and he only passes to certain players, if Suns can find a fast, defensive and accurate 6’5″-6’7″ guard I’d even let Dragic go even though I doubt Suns would do that.