But Memphis had the ball only because referees and the replay center got the prior call incorrect.
Mike Conley got a steal and raced ahead in the closing seconds then, pressured by Emmanuel Mudiay, lost the ball out of bounds. Officials and the NBA’s replay center both ruled Mudiay touched the ball last – incorrectly, according to the Last Two Minute Report:
Angles reviewed in the Replay Center appeared to show Mudiay (DEN) touch the ball prior to it going out of bounds. The call on the floor was therefore confirmed as MEM possession. However, upon review of an additional angle postgame, it was determined that Mudiay did not touch the ball and possession should have been awarded to DEN.
This is the nightmare scenario for the replay center – spending time to review a play and still getting the call wrong. And how do we know the call was wrong? Video evidence. Why didn’t the replay center review the angle used postgame? It seems we have the technology to provide the replay center with every angle.
The nature of the call makes this error particularly egregious. How do you confirm something that didn’t happen? The opposite scenario – an incorrect ruling that a player didn’t touch the ball being confirmed – would be far more understandable. It can be confirmed that you didn’t see something that actually happened. But, again, how do you confirm seeing something that didn’t happen?
Before the Nuggets claim they were cheated, they took their final lead due to another missed call.
Gary Harris stole the ball from Mike Conley, and Mudiay scored on the fastbreak with 7.9 seconds left.
Except Harris got away with fouling Conley, according to the Last Two Minute Report:
Harris (DEN) makes contact with the arm of Conley (MEM) that affects his SQBR.
And Mudiay got away with travelling, according to the Last Two Minute Report:
[Observable in enhanced video] Mudiay (DEN) gathers the ball with his left foot in the air, plants it (his first step), and then takes two more steps.
Only Harris’ uncalled foul and the out-of-bounds play were officially marked as incorrect calls. The Mudiay travel wasn’t, presumably because it was only “observable in enhanced video” – but we clearly have the technology to get that call right. Maybe the enhanced video is not available quickly enough – yet. But it’s hard to make that case about an alternate angle on who touched the ball last.
The NBA should do a better job of leveraging technology to produce correct calls.