From the release:
Commissioner Stern determined that the shot clock error did not have a clear impact on the game's outcome and therefore did not justify the extraordinary remedy of granting the protest and overturning the game's result.
I expected the protest to be denied, and if there was no precedent for a protest being granted I would end the post at the press release quote.
But there is of course a precedent. The Hawks had to replay a game two years ago. It was because of "gross negligence." Actually this was the exact quote,
NBA Commissioner David Stern found that the Hawks were grossly negligent in committing this scoring error, since they failed to follow league-mandated scoring procedures and failed to respond effectively when the members of the statisticians' crew noticed the mistake.
To be clear, if it is someone's sole responsibility to makes sure the clock is set correctly, it is "gross negligence" not to do so. There is not way around that. Should the Hawks be penalized that the only means by which they were able to protest in-game is not as nuanced as the number of fouls a play has is?
As far as direct outcome of the game goes, the Hawks were up three points in that Miami game. The Heat were not winning. In the Cleveland game, the shot clock malfunction occurred with the Hawks winning and the gross negligence at least in part allowed for an easy run out basket by the Cavs. I struggle to see how this did not have a clear effect on the game.To say differently, is to say 10 times out of 10 the Cavs would win that game anyway.
The Hawks were not asking for a victory. They wanted to play the game over from where a clear discrepancy took place and helped cause momentum to switch. If no protests are ever granted, fine, but a standard had been set, and the Hawks met that standard.