Somehow it feels appropriate that the Thunder’s season ended after a chaotic series of plays where their highly-paid stars just could not knock down the shot.
To set the scene, the Thunder were down three and were taking the ball out of bounds with 24 seconds left, and George got the ball with Rudy Gobert switched onto him. George pump faked, Gobert bit and George leaned into him and took the shot expecting a whistle that never came.
That looks like a clear foul, but it’s not how the referees saw it — and they have video angles to back up their point. The argument is that George jumped to his right to draw the contact and it was not a natural shooting motion, therefore no foul.
The Last Two Minute Report will come out Saturday, we’ll see what it says.
Still, to my eyes, that’s a foul. Did George lean into Gobert on that shot? Yes. However, all season long that much of a lean (and far more egregious examples of guys leaping into contact) was called a foul. Not this time. This wasn’t a Kevin Love special where the shooter went three feet to his right to draw a call. Gobert was close. Got to call that, to me.
That call is not why the Thunder lost. They fell because as a team they shot 0-of-7 in the final minute and was 2-of-11 in the final three minutes. George can go look in the mirror, finishing 5 points on 2-of-16 shooting, with more turnovers than points on the night. Carmelo Anthony had just 7 points and was a defensive liability. The Thunder offense was predictable. It was not one call that cost the Thunder the game, it was the previous 47 minutes, they couldn’t pull away in the first half when the Thunder offense was a mess (it missed Ricky Rubio) and it came back to bite them.