Here we are again in this series.
Wednesday the NBA admitted that referees blew two calls in the final minute, both going against San Antonio, in what turned out to be a Game 5 Spurs loss that set Oklahoma City up to close out the series Thursday on its home court.
These calls were not the reason the Spurs lost and may not have changed the outcome, but they did rob the Spurs of opportunities. And while that does matter, this report also doesn’t make any difference. Nothing changes.
The most obvious no call came with 8.7 seconds remaining (watch it in the video above): The Thunder are up one and inbounding the ball with 9.3 seconds left, meaning if they couldn’t steal the inbounds pass the Spurs had to immediately foul. Dion Waiters made a clean inbounds pass to Russell Westbrook, who was trailed by Kawhi Leonard and the Spur immediately reached out, put his arms around Westbrook’s hips, and spun him. No foul was called, Westbrook drove and got an and-one foul on LaMarcus Aldridge at the rim (which with the free throw made it a four point Thunder lead, not three, and it was game over).
The NBA admits Leonard did foul Westbrook.
The other call came with 54.7 seconds to go, when the Spurs Danny Green was whistled for a shooting foul on Kevin Durant. The report says that was an incorrect call because of Steven Adams, here is the comment:
Adams (OKC) extends his leg into Green’s (SAS) path, causing him to trip and fall into Durant (OKC)
All this is just salt in the Spurs wounds. It changes nothing. San Antonio now has to win a Game 6 on the road to get to a Game 7 at home, and more than the officials the Spurs need to figure out the improved Thunder defense, and how to deal with the Adams/Enes Kanter front line.