NBA admits refs missed five calls on the last play of Thunder-Spurs

May 3, 2016

The good news for the officiating crew in Monday night's controversial Game 2 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs is that there weren't quite as many missed calls as you might imagine.

The bad news? The NBA officially ruled on Tuesday that the referees missed five calls in the final 13.5 seconds of the Thunder's absurd victory -- starting, of course, with the inbound kerfuffle between Dion Waiters and Manu Ginobili.


That's twelve different situations that needed to be analyzed in the final 13.5 seconds, or an almost 42-percent failure rate by the officials on the final possession, which isn't great.


On the correct no-call front, the NBA ruled that Waiters is allowed to leave his feet on the inbound play, so long as he doesn't move laterally or into the crowd. The league also said that Danny Green's contact with Kevin Durant as Durant went for the ball was not a foul. Beyond that, though, here are the five incorrect no-calls in all their glory:

1. Ginobili steps on the line while defending the inbounds play.

That one's easy enough, and doesn't need any of those fancy moving pictures. A still image clearly shows Ginobili's foot on the line. During most of the game, that would just be a delay of game call on the Spurs guard. In the final two minutes, however, such a violation is cause for a team technical foul. By the letter of the law, the Thunder should have had a free throw and another opportunity to inbound the ball.

2. Waiters crosses the out-of-bounds plane during the inbound and makes contact with Ginobili that affects his ability to defend.

This will go underappreciated in the commotion about all the incorrect calls, but "... that affects his ability to defend" is a wonderful euphemism for "delivers a forearm that sends the defender reeling." Kudos to whomever in the league office came up with that one.

3. Patty Mills grabs and holds Steven Adams affecting his freedom of movement during the inbounds play.

Watch the middle of your screen in the clip above. With everything going on during this play, it's a pretty sneaky move by Mills -- or it would be, if he weren't so blatantly holding Adams by the waist. If you lead your partner in a modified waltz, it's apparently not a foul.

4. Kawhi Leonard grabs Russell Westbrook's jersey in the backcourt during the inbound.

Almost at the exact moment that Mills was corraling Adams, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year used a bit of creativity to keep Westbrook from creating too much separation. Pretty crafty, Kawhi, but that's cheating.

5. Serge Ibaka grabs and holds LaMarcus Aldridge's jersey and affects his shot attempt.

Ibaka was pretty darn handsy in the paint as the Spurs desperately tried to get off a decent shot, but the NBA ruled that his initial tangling with Leonard and Aldridge was legal. After Mills' 3-pointer, however, Ibaka clearly grabs Aldridge on the rebound, although it's only visible from the reverse angle.


Other than that, though? Everything was just fine.