NBA says yes, referees did miss Russell Westbrook’s travel in final minute

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It was obvious this was coming.

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report on officiating came out and it says exactly what we expected: Russell Westbrook did travel with 17 seconds left. Here is the official comment on the play.

Westbrook (OKC) turns toward the referee to request a timeout as he slides his pivot foot. The referee is focused on a possible take foul or timeout and misses the
travel violation.

A former VP of officials put it well.

I’ll add this: Referees rarely call pivot foot slides, Steven Adams got away with one earlier. The two-minute report also says the refs missed a travel call on Stephen Curry with 7.8 seconds left.

As always, I want to add this caveat: The Golden State Warriors did not lose because of this call. Or the referees in general. They lost because when Oklahoma City sharpened their defense in the second half — particularly the switches on the pick-and-roll — the Warriors didn’t handle it well. They tried to force one of their patented runs to happen rather than letting it happen in the flow of the game. The result was an ugly second half. That cost them the game.

This call, however, would have given them the opportunity to force overtime. So yes it does matter in this series.

But the report is moot — it changes nothing.  The call stands and the Thunder lead 1-0.