There are a plethora of great matchups in the NBA Finals. Kobe vs. Ray Allen. Paul Pierce vs. Ron Artest. The speed, athleticism, and youth of Rajon Rondo against the toughness, savvy, and outside shooting of Derek Fisher. Andrew Bynum vs. Kendrick Perkins and Bynum’s own injuries. All of them are exciting matchups to ponder, and will all likely have a huge impact on the series.
The final play of Thunder-Spurs Game 2 was pure mayhem – five missed calls in the final 13.5 seconds.
But what if that high-stakes ending were avoided completely?
If officials had gotten previous crunch-time calls correct, it might have been.
The last play mattered only because San Antonio was charging back from a five-point deficit with a minute and a half left. The Spurs trailed by only one when Dion Waiters inbounded the ball.
San Antonio probably shouldn’t have been that close.
The Last Two Minute Report featured three missed calls before the final play, each favoring the Spurs and two crucial.
Since Westbrook (OKC) is stationary, Aldridge (SAS) can establish himself in his path without giving him room to avoid the screen. However, Aldridge does not maintain his legal position when he pushes Westbrook off balance.
That doesn’t look like a clear offensive foul from the angle TNT showed, but the league reviews these plays from multiple angles. There’s enough obscured to believe an alternate view would show an illegal screen.
A correct call would’ve ended San Antonio’s possession and given the Thunder the ball up five instead of three.
Duncan (SAS) clamps the arm of Adams (OKC) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound
A correct call would’ve given Oklahoma City the ball with 1:11 left – another opportunity to run clock and add to its lead.
Duncan also committed a three-second violation with 55 seconds left, but the Spurs missed and Oklahoma City rebounded on that possession, anyway.
Especially considering that Manu Ginobili crossing the sideline should’ve been a violation before Waiters pushed him, the Spurs and their fans can’t reasonably claim officiating cost them this game
This has to be a record.
Hopefully, this is one never broken.
The NBA’s official review found five missed calls in the final 13.5 seconds of Oklahoma City’s Game 2 win over the Spurs Monday night, and eight total in the final two minutes of play. Lead official Ken Mauer admitted to one after the game — missing Dion Waiters shoving Manu Ginobili back — but this goes into all the details. And this doesn’t cover Steven Adams getting his arm grabbed by a fan.
In short the NBA says: Manu Ginobili stepped on the line, Dion Waiters did foul Ginobili, Patty Mills fouled Steven Adams, Kawhi Leonard fouled Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka fouled LaMarcus Aldridge.
It’s a wash if you want to look at it that way, although it’s hard to look past that many errors. Whether you think it was a fair outcome probably depends on which team you’re rooting for.
Here are the calls from the final 13 seconds — both right and wrong — according to the NBA’s review (the time stamp of the incorrect calls are in bold):
• 13.5 sec: Manu Ginobili did step on the line while trying to guard Waiters inbound pass. The report says that should have been assessed as a delay of game, although the rule book says that in the final two minutes it should be a technical foul.
• 13.5 sec: Waiters did shove Manu Ginobili and should have been called for a foul, with the ball awarded to the Spurs. Here is the league’s comment:
Waiters crosses the (out of bounds) plane during the inbound and makes contact with Ginobili that affects his ability to defend
• 13.5 sec: Waiters did inbound the ball within five seconds, a correct no call.
• 13.5 sec: Waiters was allowed to jump during the inbound pass, a correct no call. Here is the league’s explanation:
Waiters jumps during his inbound attempt, which is permissible under NBA interpretations of the relevant throw-in Rule No. 10, Section III, provided the player doesn’t leave the designated throw-in spot (laterally) or leave the playing surface (e.g., stepping into the stands) to gain an advantage
Green and Durant briefly engage and separate during the inbounds play.
• 13.5 sec: Patty Mills does foul Steven Adams as he tries to get open for the inbounds play, there should have been a foul called.
• 13.5 sec: Kawhi Leonard did foul Russell Westbrook in the backcourt as the Thunder Guard tried to get open by grabbing his jersey, there was no call but it should have been whistled.
• 12.6 sec: Green did not foul Durant in going for the inbounds pass, a correct no call. The league’s comment:
Green and Durant make incidental body contact as they jump for the inbound pass. Green then cleanly strips the ball.
• 5.7 sec: Ibaka does not foul Leonard, this contact was incidental and a correct no call.
• 4.3 sec: Adams does not foul Mills in contesting his corner three. Here is the league’s comment.
Adams legally contests Mills’ jump shot attempt. Any contact that occurs after Mills has landed is initiated by Mills prior to him falling to the floor.
• 2.6 sec: Ibaka did foul LaMarcus Aldridge on his shot attempt off the rebound of Mills’ miss, Aldridge should have been awarded free throws. Here is the league’s comment:
RHH shows that Ibaka grabs and holds Aldridge’s jersey and affects his shot attempt.
• 0.5 sec: There was no foul in the scrum under the basket for the ball once Aldridge and Ibaka were tangled up. This was a correct no call. Here is the comment from the league.
Ibaka and Leonard make incidental contact with one another while diving for the loose ball.
Dwyane Wade says he’s feeling “all kinds of emotions” after hearing that he was Prince’s favorite basketball player.
The Miami Heat star took to Twitter after hearing Prince’s comments in a 2012 Australian radio interview the late pop icon conducted with model Damaris Lewis.
Prince died last month at his Minnesota home at the age of 57.
It’s hard to describe the final play of the Thunder Game 2 win over the Spurs and the officiating during it for a family-friendly publication such as this. The phrase I want to use starts with “cluster” but that’s as far as I can go.
The officiating crew missed a host of calls during those final 13 seconds, but they have at least owned up to the most egregious one — missing Dion Waiters pushing off Manu Ginobili while the Thunder guard tried to inbound the ball. (Yes, Ginobili’s foot was on the line, but sorry Thunder homers that was not close to the most egregious miss at the end.)
After the game, the lead official Kenny Mauer admitted that error.
Now the NBA referee’s union released this statement:
Did that decide the game? No. We like to focus on things we can blame as going wrong, but the Spurs offense started 2-of-15 shooting on the night, was inconsistent, and they still had a chance at the end. This one play is not why the Spurs lost. Manu Ginobili said it well postgame.