PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — The NBA admitted Sunday that game officials blew a call in the final 20 seconds of the Clippers-Warriors playoff opener Saturday that might have cost the Clippers a chance to tie the game.
But the missed call on Golden State’s Draymond Green was crucial. At the time, Clippers guard Chris Paul was dribbling to his right when he appeared to be cut off by Green, who reached in to touch the ball. Paul lost control out of bounds with 18.9 seconds left, and officials Mike Callahan, Ron Garretson and Sean Wright used a reply to determine if he or Green touched the ball last.
Under NBA rules, they could only use the replay to decide who knocked the ball out of bounds but could not retroactively call a foul. In a statement, Rod Thorn, the league’s vice president of basketball operations, said in part:
"Just prior to the ball going out-of-bounds, Paul was fouled by Green and Paul should have been granted two free throws. Contact preceding out-of-bounds call is not a reviewable matter."
Sunday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of the league’s admission, "It doesn’t make me feel any better, but I do think it’s a good thing to do. That was a big call. Chris Paul goes to the line with two free throws to tie the game.
"Having said that, there’s nothing we can do. A mistake happened on their end, but we made our own mistakes. So we have to take ownership of that. We can’t worry about any of that stuff. To me, that’s more clutter."
After Golden State was awarded the ball, Harrison Barnes was fouled by Matt Barnes and made one of two free throws for a 108-105 lead. When Paul missed two foul shots with 11.9 seconds left, it essentially ended the game.