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NBA statement on controversial play in Game 5 between Clippers and Thunder: ‘the play correctly stood as called’

May 14, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT

The Clippers didn’t lose Game 5 against the Thunder due to the call made by the referees with 11.3 seconds remaining, even if you believe that call was incorrect.

The NBA, however, believes the referees on the scene handled it to perfection.

With the Thunder trailing by two, Chris Paul turned the ball over and Reggie Jackson was heading to the basket to tie the game up. Matt Barnes wisely gave the foul, catching Jackson on his right arm — except no foul was called, and the ball appeared to go out of bounds off of Jackson.

The officials ruled it to be Thunder ball, but the replay review appeared to clearly show that Jackson was the last to touch it. The league issued a statement late Wednesday, though, saying essentially that the referees got it right.

“Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, issued the following statement today regarding an instant replay review late in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 105-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on May 13, at Chesapeake Energy Arena:

“With 11.3 seconds left in the game, the basketball went out of bounds on the baseline and the referees ruled the ball belonged to the Thunder.   The referees then used instant replay to review the play.   In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be ‘clear and conclusive’ evidence.   Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession.”

This doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, of course, because had the league gone the other way and admitted the officials got it wrong, that doesn’t change the game’s final outcome.

But it’s disingenuous to say that the replay wasn’t clear and inconclusive, because it was — the ball was last touched by Jackson, and it was evident to everyone watching.

  1. readysethike - May 14, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    i guess you can’t curse on this site. but that statement is cow manure

  2. boondocksaint224 - May 14, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    “clear and inconclusive”

    You guys are the best.

  3. prokilla - May 14, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    same call on tonight’s Net -Heat game. foul by Lebron, last touch by pierce, Net’s ball..

    • antistratfordian - May 14, 2014 at 10:05 PM

      Thou hand ’tis part of thine ball.

      • prokilla - May 14, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        this one was even worst, the foul was not in the hand, What I don’t understand is people that argue the call, so what do you want ; not to get called for a foul, plus you want the ball too??

      • antistratfordian - May 14, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        What foul?

    • kavika6 - May 15, 2014 at 1:40 AM

      Refs were too afraid of his majesty to call it a foul. Doc is nothing compared to the wrath of king james.

      • borderline1988 - May 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        What are you talking about? A foul should have been called for the hack on Reggie Jackson…Both times a foul should have been called, but the refs couldn’t fix that after the fact, so they just awarded the team the ball even though it went off the offense.

        Should Lebron have shown his ‘wrath’ at the NBA not giving the Heat the ball? Lebron didn’t because he knows he clearly fouled Pierce. Doc Rivers is doing the opposite here, and he sounds like a whining baby

  4. titansbro - May 14, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Disingenuous? Call it what it is. A flat out lie. Hey NBA fans, the NBA thinks you’re flat out stupid and/or blind.

  5. ProBasketballPundit - May 14, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    F*** Brooklyn

  6. jburk003 - May 14, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Adam Silver has more important issues right now than Donald Sterling.

    Like for example reestablishing integrity in officiating, and in instant replay. Anyone watching the Miami v Brooklyn game essentially almost saw the same exact thing happen as last night.

    I want technology refs. We have the means for it. The refs are so inconsistent about what is a foul and what is not, that the game is getting hard to watch. The refs literally control the outcome of the games with some of their calls… And I’m not even referring to last night alone.

    • antistratfordian - May 14, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      The Clippers and the Nets still deserve blame for their ineptness in the clutch. It wasn’t the refs fault that the Nets couldn’t make a shot down the stretch.

      The Thunder-Clippers game was worse because the ball was awarded to the team that clearly hit the ball out. In this game the Nets maintained possession even though Pierce hit the ball out.

      Now, did LeBron foul Pierce? If Plumlee didn’t foul LeBron then LeBron didn’t foul Pierce.

  7. golfrangeman - May 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    One is not suppose to have anything to do with the other, if they miss the call they can’t make up for it by rewarding the team with the ball. This same thing happened to Chris Paul he was fouled and lost the ball but they didn’t reward him.
    The refs are supposed to look only who it went off.

  8. ufools - May 14, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    Haha….did this statement come out before or after the exact same play that went the other direction in the Heat-nets game tonight??

  9. joestemme - May 14, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    The NBA proved their eyesight is just as clear & balanced as Donald Sterling’s views on race.

    • infieldhit - May 15, 2014 at 1:03 AM

      Not that Sterling doesn’t deserve every shot that goes his way, but… that was a pretty big stretch.

  10. gomybirdsgo - May 15, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    the play was incorrectly called. It was clearly a foul. so they got the out of bounds wrong at least the right team ended up with the ball in the end. So I don’t see the big deal. The clippers lost because they blew a big lead because they thought they had won already. Nobody was robbed.

    • spursareold - May 15, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      If it’s a foul, it’s 2 FTS, and the LAC get the ball back with 6+ seconds left, tied. The award of the ball led to 3 FTs, and the LAC trailed. Do you see the difference now?

      • borderline1988 - May 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        It lead to 3 FTs because the Clippers committed a stupid foul on a Westbrook heave. That’s on them. You can’t blame the refs in hindsight. I’m sure that if you asked the Clippers at that moment whether they’d rather have Reggie shoot 2 FTs or just an out-of-bounds play (when the Clippers are up by 2), they’d probably would have wanted the out-of-bounds play.

        In fact, by that logic, the Clippers got lucky. Jackson should have got 2 FTs to tie the game; instead the Thunder only get the ball out of bounds. Had Westbrook not been fouled, the Clippers probably would have won that game, and it would have been OKC who would have been wondering “where was the foul call”?!

  11. golfrangeman - May 15, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    The big deal is the refs are making some big mistakes and you don’t rob peter to pay Paul. You shouldn’t get a call wrong when you watching a replay.

  12. kavika6 - May 15, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    Now the NBA makes it worse by backing up the mistake. Looks like the Spurs won’t have a chance against OKC in the WCF.

  13. sluggoseam - May 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    The telling thing here is that the NBA usually has some response of “Upon review..” but in this statement they don’t admit to having watched anything. They only mention that the refs upheld their original call after looking at the video replay. So therefore they made the right call. That’s as vague as you can get because if they say they watched the video there is no way they can say that call was correct.

  14. sdlakerfan - May 15, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    The problem is that when the refs review things they only have the option of fixing a bad call in some ways. Fixing who the ball went off of without having the ability to call a foul based on the replay is inherently unfair. Wouldn’t take them any more time to review if, in these cases (review to see who the ball went off of), refs had the power to call a foul based on the replay. When they review both Barnes and Lebron are called for fouls rendering who it went off of irrelevant. The right thing happens – Jackson and Johnson shoot free throws. Adds fairness in other ways too – what if Lebron had 5 fouls when he blatantly hacked Joe Johnson? He’d rightfully be out of the game which could change things quite a bit.

    Also wondering if all the posters saw the NBA rule that says basically if the defensive player hits the offensive player’s hand causing the ball to go out of bounds, the ball goes to the offensive player.

    ps: Barnes hit Jackson’s left arm – not right arm.

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