NBA confirms refs should have awarded Raptors' Gasol free throws late in Game 5

Yahoo Canada Sports

With the Toronto Raptors holding a 3-1 advantage heading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night, plenty of ‘what if’ scenarios were thrown around following Golden State’s 106-105 victory to extend the series by at least one more contest.

Since Toronto’s Kyle Lowry put up the game’s final shot in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter — a corner three that Draymond Green was just able to get a few fingers on — most of the chatter surrounded what would have happened if he had knocked it down.

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And while it’s hard to predict how Toronto and the rest of Canada would have reacted to the first NBA championship in the history of the Raptors franchise, the words ‘frenzy’, ‘insanity’ and ‘madness’ would likely be in play.

Once the dust of Game 5 settled, though, another intriguing ‘what if’ scenario emerged that will likely have Toronto fans upset.

The NBA’s last-two-minute report of the contest deemed Marc Gasol was fouled by Golden State’s DeMarcus Cousins while attacking the rim for a layup with 49 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Toronto down 106-103 at the time.

(Let's just ignore his blatant travel on the play for a moment.)

Per the official report, the camera angles the league had available showed that Cousins “moves from point A to point B into Gasol, initiating contact that affects his driving shot attempt” and the decision of the officials to not make a call on the play was incorrect.

So, instead of Gasol going to the charity stripe to take two shots that could have slimmed the Warriors’ lead down to one, Cousins picked up the defensive rebound.

While Golden State didn’t end up scoring on the ensuing possession — or any of their opportunities following Klay Thompson’s go-ahead three-pointer to make it 106-103 with 57 seconds left — there’s no denying that those two foul shots could have completely changed the game’s conclusion.

Marc Gasol should have been awarded two free throws late in the Raptors' one-point loss to the Warriors on Monday night. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Marc Gasol should have been awarded two free throws late in the Raptors' one-point loss to the Warriors on Monday night. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Raptors weren’t the only ones that had to deal with some controversial officiating down the stretch, though. Cousins was called for basket inference just over a minute before the aforementioned incorrect non-call on Gasol.

So, the bad calls definitely went both ways and, as a result, we’ll sit and wonder how things could have played out differently until Game 6 gets underway at Oracle Arena on Thursday night.

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