The officials did not cost the Spurs Game 6 on Wednesday or the Western Conference finals as a whole. The Thunder won because they scored at an off-the-charts rate game after game, and because they managed to turn San Antonio’s league-leading offense into an average one over the final four games. Case closed.
Two major bang-bang block/charge calls negated six potential San Antonio points in its 107-99 loss on Wednesday, and neither was an egregiously bad ruling. Manu Ginobili’s charge on Kevin Durant with 8:19 left is an impossible call, really. Durant was moving, but the rule actually permits the defensive player in the block/charge situation to move — “to turn slightly” — provided he does not undercut the offensive player, and he establishes position in the dribbler’s path before that dribbler is airborne for a shot or pass.
It is a popular misconception that the defender seeking a charge call must be perfectly still. Bottom line: This is a brutally difficult call at full speed, and the block/charge issue goes well beyond a single high-stakes game. There are too many charge calls, and the NBA has to come up with some way to give offensive players more of the benefit of the doubt — something Josh Levin discussed Wednesday at Slate.
Second, the call with 5:52 left, when Ginobili crashed into James Harden after dishing to Kawhi Leonard for a corner three-pointer, appeared terrible at first glance but looks proper upon review. The charge call against a player who has passed a step earlier has long been a pet peeve of NBA fans because the passer has effectively removed himself from the play and the would-be charge-taker is trying to disrupt a potential shot attempt that no longer exists.
But this play was something different. Ginobili passed to Leonard and then set what was effectively a moving screen on Harden, who was not trying to draw a charge. Harden was actually trying to help on Ginobili and recover to Leonard, and Ginobili shoulder-checked him off that path. Harden embellished the contact, but the call was probably correct.
There were, of course, two other awful calls that went against San Antonio, the first being Russell Westbrook’s uncalled head-clubbing of Leonard under the Thunder basket with 5:05 to go in the third quarter. That missed call cost the Spurs a precious second-chance possession and an opportunity to extend a seven-point lead. The Thunder scored on a Durant dunk on the other end.
Then there was Tony Parker’s phantom foul on Westbrook’s “and-one” layup that gave Oklahoma City a 101-95 lead with 2:46 remaining. Parker swiped at Westbrook but didn’t appear to make contact. The refs whistled him for a foul anyway. Westbrook missed the free throw but got his own rebound, and the Spurs have nobody to blame but themselves for that. The Thunder came up empty on the ensuing possession, but the call and rebound did end up costing San Antonio 20 precious seconds.
Two very bad decisions from the officials. But if you watch the game again, I guarantee that you’ll be able to find a half-dozen other pieces of physical play that went — called or uncalled — the Spurs’ way, and a half-dozen others that went the Thunder’s way. The Spurs got away with some physical shot challenges early the game, for instance. This is the nature of the NBA game; it’s very fast, the floor is crowded and decisions in real time are hard. The calls and non-calls generally even out.
But you know what call actually made me the angriest? This Stephen Jackson technical:
This should be a rule, written or unwritten: If the players and coaches on an opposing team’s bench scream, yell, clap or stomp their feet to distract a nearby shooter, that shooter should be able to make any verbal taunt and/or staring gesture he would like upon making the shot. The Thunder’s bench members, particularly their assistant coaches (though not Maurice Cheeks), are among the most active human sideline distractions in the league. They are actually pretty calm by their standards on this Jackson three-pointer, and they do well to disguise their attempt at distraction by screaming at Thunder defenders to close out and pointing at the spot near Jackson’s feet where those defenders should be. Lazar Hayward also tosses in a nice overhead clap for good measure.
Again: The Thunder assistants have reached Vinny Del Negro levels of proficiency in trying to distract shooters. I can’t be the only one who smiled when Jackson turned and stared them down, and I have no dog in this fight. It’s unclear to me why guys on the bench — players or coaches — are allowed to scream and stomp without penalty, while the targets of their noise-making face referee Joey Crawford’s wrath for turning and yapping a bit.
Swallow the whistle on this one, referees, unless you’re ready to eject Del Negro from every game next season.
Go Spurs Go!
When Ginobili crashed into harden for the Leonard 3, that could have been called a foul. Hell, anything can be called a foul. It's up to the refs "discretion". The real question is, if that's Harden or Durant doing it, is it 3 points? YES.
The ginobili charge on durant... Durant was set but at lea second slid his feet over.. He didn't turn slightly... It literally took a step laterally. That was a blocking foul... Even the announcers thought it was. BAD CALL.
As far as tiny Parker's phantom foul on westbrook... You say we have no one to blame but ourselves for not gettin that board.. I say we have the officials to blame for even putting us in that position when we didn't earn it..
There were non calls both ways... But take a look at the box score.. They got A LOT more love... And their calls came in the pivotal minutes... More freethrows as anyone could see... Spurs couldn't buy a foul in the 4th. Thunder got everything.. Touch fouls, non existent fouls.. We have all seen this before... It was clearly a one sided game... I feel the refs played a huge part in this loss... They crushed the spurs momentum... As well as their will. The Spurs missed some
Big shots at the end.. But they had already hit a ton between ginobili, jax, Leonard. As well as had some big game changing shots taken away.. How many big shots can we ask our guys to hit?
Last edited by TimmyDthaWay2B; 06-08-12 at 07:13 AM.
I can see why the Commish D Stern was present at game 4 if I recall correctly in Oklahoma City. I can see that College kids atmosphere drew gigantic rating despite the small market in that dammmmmmmmm Oklahoma city.
NBA refs were just so damnnnn inconsistent in the last 4 OKC games. I know it is very very hard to prove how they can do few things to shift momentum in games. But after what I saw in OKC games 3, 4 and then 5 and 6, I am 100% convinced how it went this year.
The damage had been done. That is for sure.
All those fouls the writer said were true. And momentum shifting was 110% done very brilliantly by REFS to make sure we don't advance to no finals in this year. That is because of the ratings...
Spurs inexperienced players just folded and could not even fight back from the huge SHOCK!
Spurs experienced players I am so proud of how they fought back so hard as much as the dammmmmm refs allowed them to.
That is why next year we need to bring experience to the Spurs. We need more PO savvy players especially scorers. We need to have 4 starters who can pack the lanes and play mixture of Defense and scoring punchers from the bench.
The saddest part of this OKC game for me was the refs calling T on Jack. Then the refs allowed Kevin Durant to leave the freaking game and decide to be a classless punk and hug his mom and dad BEFORE the game ends. I thought that showing his emotions and allowing him to do so BEFORE game ending was just taunting and should get him T. Don't hate me I know he was emotional and he is a great player, but it was immature and classless imo. How is that not taunting while Jack was?
The other memorable sad thing to watch in game 6 was at the last .13 seconds of the fourth when this freaking idiot perkins decided to DUNK the freaking ball. You are up and already won at that point and kd already hugged his papa and mana! why the freak do you want to DUNK. Classless idiot?
Anyway, Spurs learned a whole lot this year. This experience is going to help us retool for next year. Spurs will come back with a Stronger team. We have a great coach and we have a great system. We will come back and bring smarter players next year. Some key things for our Spurs will happen this off season that is for sure.
Go Spurs Go!
I couldn't disagree with the title of this thread more. The officiating had a massive affect on the outcome of ths series. You actually watched the 4th quarter of game 6..... and the only play that really disturbed you was Jackson's technical? You must have brain damage.
"Dick-less Bavetta is the Devil"
Add this to all of the goal tends in the series (OKC probably took a 20 point swing from all of them combined), all the fouls on Parker, Manu and Timmy after the 3rd quarter of game 2, and all of the TAUNTS that went uncalled (Harden on Splitter was one on particular that I remember, punky Westbrook had a handful of them on Green). After ignoring them they get S-Jax for the weakest taunt I have ever seen?
This one is up there with the '02 and '04 Faker series and the '06 Dallas series. I could go back further and Utah in the '90s (Karl Malone was allowed to literraly mug and smash D-Rob across the arms every time down the floor back in the day), and a few early exits on top of those, but those were the worst.
Seems like the league feels guilty after screwing us and we win it all the next year because they refrain from screwing us. But this Spurs team is getting older and older. Without an athletic big on top of all the guys coming back, this was our best chance.
-Chris & Au, Spurs fans in Central NY!
- I've been a Spurs fan since 1990.
- I got my wife hooked on the Spurs in 2004.
- I've watched and recorded every Spurs game from 1996 to 2005 on VHS.
- I've watched and recorded every Spurs game on DVD since 2006.
- I hate the La-La-Land Fakers and NBA Refs... possibly even more than I love the Spurs.
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