Beijing (China), January 11: After Askia Booker's buzzer-beating three-pointer rimmed out, both the Shenzhen Aviators and the Beijing Ducks braced for overtime in a Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) game on Sunday.
But after reviewing the video replay, Beijing point guard Liu Xiaoyu was ruled to have committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Booker, who made three ensuing free throws to secure Shenzhen's win.
Video replay showed that Booker's left foot fell on Liu's heel leading to an ankle sprain.
Beijing's head coach Xie Libin and some players left the court in protest and made a return shortly afterward.
Zhai Xiaochuan, captain of the Beijing side, was stopped by Shenzhen's Shen Zijie on his way out. Then Zhai walked to the recording table growling, "Did our team do something wrong?"
No handshake with opponents as is etiquette, Beijing coaches and players soon walked off the court, leaving Shenzhen players celebrating in a venue with no spectators due to COVID-19 countermeasures.
Xie refused to comment at a post-game conference.
"I don't know," he said when talking about the reason for his departure from and return to the court.
"This is a cycle," said Shenzhen point guard Yang Linyi to a teammate when celebrating the victory, seemingly hinting at the controversial way the game ended when the two sides met in the 2019-20 season on December 8, 2019.
He Xining's three-pointer earned Shenzhen a one-point lead with two seconds remaining. Beijing's Jeremy Lin attempted a long-range shot which failed to hit the target, but the referee ruled that Lin was fouled and awarded a trio of free-throws. Lin converted all of them as Beijing escaped the hard-fought match with a win.
A coincidence was that the same referee, Wang Mei, referee both contests.
The Beijing club posted an all-black picture on its social media account.
"Sleep, sleep," Liaoning Flying Leopards guard Zhao Jiwei replied.
"Everyone played tough today. Let's just be unwise for once," a fan wrote.
"I hope that everyone doesn't feel any discouragement, as you have the support from so many people," a netizen named "Xiaohua is fighting" replied.
But there is another voice in approaching the refereeing.
"It was clearly a step under the foot. Should it only be ruled a foul when resulting in an injury?" a netizen called "Mr-Feng_vau" wrote.
"Beijing overacted to the refereeing. Zhai Xiaochuan complained for quite a long time, and should be ejected for his behavior," another netizen named "Call me coach Zhang" commented.