The NBA conceded what we already knew after watching Tuesday night's thrilling and crucial Game 5 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs: The officials blew two calls in the final minute.
In the league's last two minute report, the NBA officially determined Thunder center Steven Adams extended his leg into Spurs wing Danny Green's patch, causing him to trip and fall into Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant with 54.7 seconds left. Durant made both free throws for a 92-90 lead OKC wouldn't relinquish.
In typical Spurs fashion, Green didn't take the bait when asked about the blown call after the 95-91 loss.
"I don't know if it was intentional. I didn't see the replay clear enough. I just know that he does a good job of setting screens for them. Sometimes the refs see. Sometimes they don't. You know, he gives a little extra, but that's what he's supposed to do, and on that particular play, he did a good job of clearing out [...] and I tried to chase KD around the screen.
"My leg came out from under me. I'm pretty sure it was his foot. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but the reason why I fouled Durant was the domino effect of being tripped."
The Spurs had blown a double-digit lead by then, so the entirety of the loss can't be blamed on that one missed call, but it sure was a big one in the moment and set the tone for the final few possessions.
With the Spurs still trailing 92-91 and the clock now reading 8.7 seconds, Spurs star Kawhi Leonard grabbed Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in an attempt to send him to the line and get the ball back with enough time to potentially tie the game. However, the refs missed the contact — stunningly, since everyone in the building knew Leonard would attempt a foul there — as Westbrook broke free for a layup, drew a foul from LaMarcus Aldridge and converted the free throw, putting the game out of reach at 95-91.
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(There was some question as to whether Aldridge actually fouled Westbrook, too, but the NBA determined he did make contact and called it a correct call in its last two minute report.)
"I definitely fouled him," Leonard said in robotic Spurs speak. "But the referee, I guess, he didn't see it, and you know, you've just got to keep playing through it."
For those of you counting at home, Oklahoma City's final five points of the evening all came from misguided whistles, bringing the grand total of blown calls in Games 2 and 5 to seven. Not a good look.
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