Sport: 24 Seconds to Shoot

One hero—and villain—of the professional basketball arenas this season is a small board with blinking lights, set close to the playing area at each end of the court, in plain view of the players, officials, spectators and TV cameras. When a team gets possession of the ball, the board flashes the number 24. Then the numbers dwindle downward, changing every second. This warns the team in possession that it must try for a basket before 24 seconds have elapsed. Otherwise, it loses the ball to the opposing team.

This new rule, adopted for the...

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