The debacle that was game two between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder is still being talked about around the sports world.
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The final two minutes of the game turned out to be hectic. Bodies flying everywhere, jerseys being pulled, fouls being missed, and the referees simply ‘let them play’. The game was fought to the finish, and you hate to see the back-and-forth contest be overshadowed by ‘what could have been’ calls. On Tuesday, the NBA announced that the three officials
that would have given San Antonio the last possession of the game.
They owned up to their mistake. It did not come down to that one call, as obvious as it was. Many media outlets have the images of Spurs players causing fouls of their own. There were five calls all together that the NBA said should have been called on Monday during those final seconds.
1. Manu Ginobili stepped on the line while defending the inbounds play. This should have been a delay of game.
2. Dion Waiters crossed the out-of-bounds plane and made contact with Ginobili, which affected his ability to defend. This should have been an offensive foul, as TNT’s Chris Webber correctly screamed over and over.
3. Patty Mills grabbed and held Steven Adams, affecting his freedom of motion. This should have been a foul on Mills.
4. Kawhi Leonard grabbed Russell Westbrook’s jersey in the backcourt. This should have been a foul on Leonard.
5. Serge Ibaka grabbed LaMarcus Aldridge’s jersey and affected his shot attempt. This should have been a shooting foul.
Both teams did what they could to hold one another down. The referees simply swallowed their whistles as TNT Analyst Reggie Miller told Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show.
“This is why I say the two-minute report that’s now coming out…this goes to what I’ve always said about our game in the NBA,” Miller told Patrick. “Officials, especially in late-game situations, always swallow their whistle and let the players decide the game. As egregious as fouls may be or non calls, they always let the players decide the games. Last night was no difference…But again, I always say the officials swallowed their whistles and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. But it’s always been like that for the 18 years that I played they let players decide the game.”
You have already heard what Miller is saying, but he is providing a player’s perspective and essentially saying that players already know that officials won’t call anything when the game is winding down, so they have to get used to non-calls and play through it.
What a finish. It was intense. It was crazy. Waiters shoving Green while he was throwing the ball in is a first, and one that should have definitely been called. As Gregg Popovich put it, he did not blame the referees for the way the Spurs lost, but instead gave credit to the Thunder for outplaying them.
The series is tied at one game a piece. Game three and four head to Oklahoma City Friday.