Last night–during the final seconds of the Oklahoma City Thunder and LA Clippers–NBA referees made a very controversial call that many are saying is bullsh*t. I disagree.
The “play” in question actually involves two different, important moments.
The first one is the turnover by Chris Paul, a real gamesman who’s known for selling fouls. If you watch the footage above, the fact of the matter is that with 17 seconds left to play, CP3 100% committed to selling a foul as soon as he saw Westbrook coming. Why the hell he thought it would be a good idea to try and jump up with the ball is beyond me. Just let the clock run out!
In a series like this, where the play has been so physical, I applaud the refs for not letting a guy off the hook like that. Anyways, that leads to the turnover…
The ball now lands in Reggie Jackson’s hands. While I’m not sure why the hell he didn’t dish it off immediately to Westbrook, you gotta respect the young gun’s nerves of steel to want to tie the game on his own. But I digress.
Matt Barnes then fouls Reggie Jackson on the hand. You can’t argue that. But the refs don’t call the foul and instead opt to give OKC the ball on the out-of-bounds. This isn’t all that strange. Is the ball in Reggie’s hand last before it goes out of bounds? Yes. But it’s a ticky-tack foul (especially after the CP3 turnover) and in a bang-bang play/last-second/Playoff scenario like this, you can’t bail out OKC with a foul.
Out of bounds is the right call here. Here’s the post-game explanation from crew chief Tony Brothers:
It sucks but the Clippers only have themselves to blame for this loss.
Here’s a great photo of Durant not looking at Westbrook while he takes his three free throws to win the game. Photo copyright: Ronald Martinez of Getty Images.