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Referees screw Clippers at end of Game 5 vs. Thunder (Video)

The NBA officiating crew of Tom Washington, Bennett Salvatore and Tony Brothers stole Game 5 from the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night and gave it to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a series of bad calls at the end of the game.

The Clippers blew a 7-point lead with 49 seconds left to lose 105-104. They were up 104-102 in the final 20 seconds following a layup and 3-pointer from Kevin Durant. Chris Paul had the ball for the Clippers and probably thought the Thunder were going to foul him. Russell Westbrook went after him and got a steal but was not called for a foul. That was the first questionable call of the sequence. Then Reggie Jackson got the ball after the steal and went up for a layup. Forget that Paul fouled Jackson but the refs didn’t call it; Jackson lost the ball out of bounds and the Thunder were awarded the ball after a review.

Replays seemed to show that Jackson, not Matt Barnes, was last to touch it:

Reggie Jackson Matt Barnes

Even after the review, officials gave the ball to the Thunder with 11.3 seconds left and the team down by two. OKC gave it to Westbrook, who hoisted a 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left. The refs then called a b.s. foul on Chris Paul, giving Westbrook three free throws.

Westbrook made all three free throws to give his team the lead, and then Paul turned the ball over on the final possession for the Clippers. You could even argue that Jackson fouled CP3 with a reach in on that turnover. I still put that on CP3, but the Clips had already done enough to win. The refs stole the game from them.

That’s three pretty terrible calls in my opinion, and all three went against the Clippers.

“We got robbed,” Rivers said after the game.

He is absolutely right.

Bennett Salvatore Admits to Mistake on Inadvertent Whistle

Chicago Bulls fans were complaining that the refs screwed them at the end of Game 4 in Atlanta, and it looks like they are justified. Referee Bennett Salvatore admitted he got a call wrong at the end of the game that helped shift momentum towards the Hawks.

Derrick Rose pump faked a three-point attempt with 2:28 left in the game and was hit by Jamal Crawford who tried to block the shot. Rose should have been awarded three free throws for being fouled on the shot, but Salvatore apparently blew his whistle inadvertently. The result was a jump ball won by Atlanta, and they converted on their next possession to go up by eight points, 92-84. Had Rose been awarded his free throws and made all three, it would have been a one-possession game 90-87.

“I blew my whistle. I was positive it was not a foul,”
Salvatore said after the game
. “I blew my whistle by accident, which is an inadvertent whistle. That’s why I disallowed it.
“Having watched the replay, it was a foul. I made a mistake. I was wrong.”

Salvatore may have admitted his mistake, but you can’t make egregious errors like that in such a key situation. And are you telling me there was no other way to handle the situation than by having a jump ball? This is almost as bad as the Kendrick Perkins tip-in by Oklahoma City that killed Denver in Game 1. The refs can apologize all they want, but it doesn’t help the team that got screwed. I suppose the only equalizer in the situation is that there were several incidents when the Bulls got away with hard fouls on guys like Josh Smith. As disappointed and upset as Bulls fans are, I think it all evened out, so keep that in mind.

Thanks to Tom Ziller for the Salvatore link