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#pounditSaturday, December 4, 2021

Clippers forward tweets vulgar message to NBA over missed replay call

Cameron Payne Nicolas Batum play

One LA Clippers player is tweeting what many were thinking after Saturday’s Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns narrowly held on to defeat the Clippers by a 84-80 final score. A crucial moment came with 7.8 seconds left in the contest when Clippers forward Nicolas Batum poked the ball away from Suns guard Cam Payne. Instant replay showed that the ball very clearly appeared to have been last touched by Payne before it went out of bounds. However, the referees chose to not even review the play despite the protests of the Clippers.

After the game, Clippers forward Patrick Patterson tweeted a vulgar message in which he tagged the NBA.

“Although it doesn’t mean s— & won’t change the outcome, we would like to apologize to the Clippers for not reviewing the deflection off of CP15 at the 8 second mark in the 4th.” – @NBA statement tomorrow..” Patterson wrote.

Had the referees gone to the replay booth and seen that the ball was last touched by Payne, the Clippers would have gotten the ball back down by one point with a chance to win the game. Instead, the Clippers had to foul, and the Suns hit two free throws to essentially ice the game.

The officials seem to have caved to public pressure here. Many criticisms had been levied in earlier games of the Clippers-Suns series about how the constant replay reviews were ruining the flow of the final two minutes. A similar sequence in Game 2 was also met with widespread fan disapproval. Patrick Beverley poked a ball away from Devin Booker in the closing seconds that was technically last touched by Booker. The referees reviewed the play and overturned the call on the floor to award possession to the Clippers. But many questioned the policy of rewarding the defensive player on such a play over a miniscule technicality.

The problem with now reversing that precedent in Game 4 is the lack of uniformity. Referees are supposed to call games fairly and consistently, not capriciously and arbitrarily. Fans on one side or the other will always be upset when a call goes against their team. Thus, getting the call right is what is most important. The refs in Game 2 took the time to get the calls right, and what will be remembered is how the Suns won on their own merits. Unfortunately, Game 4 will probably be remembered more for the poor officiating than anything else.


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