Did the NBA see what we saw? Or what they wanted to see?
With the Oklahoma City Thunder up 104-102 in the final seconds of Tuesday night's Game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul turned the ball over to the Thunder's Reggie Jackson. After an apparent foul by the Clippers' Matt Barnes, Jackson bobbled the ball out of bounds -- with the refs determining the ball went off of Barnes.
Multiple replays confirmed that the ball indeed went out of bounds off of Jackson. After review, however, the referees confirmed the call on the floor -- leading some to speculate that the officials declined to overturn the call as a make-up for missing the foul call on Barnes.
Despite speculation that the NBA would issue an apology on Wednesday to the Clippers for the missed call, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn did quite the opposite in a press release transcribed by Eric Freeman of Yahoo! Sports:
“With 11.3 seconds left in the game, the basketball went out of bounds on the baseline and the referees ruled the ball belonged to the Thunder. The referees then used instant replay to review the play. In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be ‘clear and conclusive’ evidence. Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession.”
Rather than actually addressing the issue, it looks like the NBA is looking to push this one under the rug.
However, with this call perhaps costing the Clippers the series in the end, this vague interpretation of the referee's decision may only serve to add fuel to the fire in the end.
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