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:
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.