No Harm, No Fouls?
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The NBA finally came out with it’s “Last Two Minute” report from Monday’s Thunder-Spurs thriller and as you might expect several foulups could be seen on the tape but no fouls were called.
League officials who reviewed everything said there were five blown calls in the final, frantic last 13.5 seconds.
That very well might be a record for that sort of thing in such a short time frame and actually when you watch the tape three of those infractions were happening at the exact same time, right before Dion Waiters threw his inbounds pass toward Kevin Durant.
“It was like helter-skelter out there,” admitted Joe Borgia, the NBA Vice President of Replay and Referee Operations. “One thing seemed to lead to the other and the next thing you know you have five errors in a very short period of time.”
Borgia was interviewed last night on TNT and said fans and many other observers clearly saw one of the missed calls but the others were not as noticeable until the sequence was replayed and slowed down.
“It wasn’t our best 13 seconds we have to be real, but when you’re watching the game live in real time most of those errors weren’t seen, there was one major, obvious one that everybody saw and that was the offensive foul during the throw-in by Waiters.”
The others were Kawhi Leonard holding onto Russell Westbrook’s jersey, Patty Mills grabbing Steven Adams in a bear hug and then a tad later Serge Ibaka grabbing LaMarcus Aldridge by the jersey in the low post.
“They are all errors, they all should have been called,” Borgia said and then he added what most Thunder fans had been pointing out. “If we’d have gotten the first one the other four never would have happened.”
Yeah, the first one.
The one where Ginobili stepped over the line, it was only for a moment, but you can clearly see it on at least one of the replay angles and as Borgia explained to the TNT guys had that infraction been called, everything would have changed and in fact the Thunder would have had a chance to put another point on the scoreboard.
“It’s a delay of game," Borgia said, "but because it happens in the last two minutes at the throw in spot it becomes an automatic technical foul.”
And that sends a Thunder player (most certainly Durant) to the free throw line for a chance to add a point to OKC’s skinny stick man lead and then the Thunder would retain possession.
There’d be another throw-in but that sequence would have been completely different from what actually happened.
And in fact, even though Spurs fans and national pundits are howling over all this, the Spurs probably caught the biggest break.
By swallowing their whistles the officiating crew allowed what turned into a San Antonio 3-on-1 fast break. You figure most coaches, players, fans whoever would like their chances of scoring better with a 3-1 fast break than a side out of bounds play when the defense would have a chance to get set.
Had the Spurs scored the Thunder would have been the team that could have complained a no-call led to a loss, especially if the Spurs had hit one of their last second shots. OKC was out of timeouts at that point and couldn’t move the ball to the front-court.
So the way it all turned out was probably for the best, the Spurs had their shot and missed, the Thunder dodged that bullet and lived to square the series.
No harm…no fouls.