The Pacers have been one of the league’s best teams through the first half of the season, but were coming off of a 24-point loss in Phoenix, and were in danger of losing in Sacramento to a Kings team playing without both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins due to injury.
Paul George made sure that wouldn’t happen, completing an improbable four-point play with under 16 seconds remaining that tied the game and sent it into overtime, where George scored eight of his team’s 13 points in the extra session to ensure a Pacers victory.
It’s tough to tell exactly what the referees saw when making this call from the angles we get, but especially on that last one it doesn’t appear as though George got hit on the arm; in fact, if he had, it’s doubtful the off-balance three from that distance would have splashed home the way it did.
There might have been a small push by the defender as George came around the screen, but that was extremely minor, and obviously it was a very tough call for the Kings to swallow.
The referees have been on the wrong side of these late-game calls seemingly all season long. Twice they’ve tried to stay out of it and let some contact go with games on the line, only to be publicly reprimanded by the league office the very next day. That’s why we’re seeing the itchy trigger-finger from the officials on these plays in the final seconds; hopefully there will be a balance found here over the second half of the season.