NBA: Thunder preceded Kevin Durant’s game-winner against Magic with uncalled offensive foul

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The Thunder beat the Magic, 117-114, Wednesday on Kevin Durant‘s game-winning 3-pointer.

Why was the game tied when Durant hoisted? Because Russell Westbrook scored on Oklahoma City’s previous possession.

And how did Westbrook score? Because the referees missed Steven Adams offensively fouling Nikola Vucevic, who otherwise would’ve been in position to contest Westbrook’s shot.

NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Adams (OKC) grabs Vucevic’s (ORL) left arm affecting his ability to defend.

If that foul were called, the Magic would’ve gotten the ball with a two-point lead and 31.1 seconds left.

Maybe the Thunder still would’ve gotten a stop, and Durant still would’ve made a 3-pointer for a one-point win.

More likely, Oklahoma City would’ve intentionally fouled Orlando rather than face such a small difference between the shot clock and game clock (7.1 seconds). If the Magic bled the clock and scored, that would’ve effectively iced the game. Even a contested rebound could have put the Thunder in a huge bind as time ticked with the ball loose.

At worst, barring a complete breakdown, the Magic could’ve taken significant time off the clock.  In that event, the Thunder likely would’ve had to use their final timeout and work against a set defense. In reality, Durant benefited from the extra time – Orlando was trying to score with the game tied rather than run down the clock – by pushing the ball without using the timeout.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if the officials made the correct call down the stretch.

But we know the Magic would’ve had a significantly better chance of winning.