League admits Aldridge goaltend call on Durant was wrong

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Portland should have had the win.

Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge looked like he’d made the defensive play of the game, blocking a Kevin Durant layup on the last play of regulation, but then Scott Foster, the referee out near half court, called goaltending. Tie game, 103-103, and the Thunder went on to win in overtime.

Tuesday the league admitted the wrong call was made.

With six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge was called for goaltending on a shot attempted by the Thunder’s Kevin Durant. With the benefit of slow motion replay following the game, it has been determined that Aldridge made contact with the ball just before the ball hit the backboard. Therefore, this should have been ruled a good block and goaltending was the incorrect call. (As determined by the NBA’s Competition Committee, referees may not use instant replay on goaltending calls.)

Goaltending calls are not reviewable because while the ones off the backboard can be clear via replay a more standard block is considered a judgment call at the time that should stand.

I can hear my high school coach now talking to Blazers fans — you didn’t lose the game because of one bad call, you lost it because of that 6-0 run late that let Oklahoma City tie the game up, or the late 8-0 run you gave up before the half, or the run that let the Thunder take a 12-point lead in the fourth. His message was very coach-like — if you don’t want to risk bad calls at the end of the game, play better earlier and take it out of the refs’ hands.

Still, Portland should have won this game. Tough break.