NBA referees on Tuesday admitted they made a series of officiating blunders during the frantic finale to San Antonio’s playoff clash with Oklahoma City.
Referees crew chief Ken Mauer told a pool reporter that officials should have called a foul on a rare inbounds play they had never seen before at the end of Monday’s thriller.
Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Spurs 98-97 to tie the seven-game series at 1-1.
However refs admitted a foul should have been called on Thunder guard Dion Waiters when he inbounded the ball from the sideline and used an elbow to shunt aside Manu Ginobili.
“On the floor, we did not see a foul on the play,” Mauer said.
“However, upon review we realize and we agree we should have had an offensive foul on the play. It’s a play we’ve never seen before, ever. We should have had an offensive foul on the play.”
Waiters’s inbounds pass with 13.5 seconds on the clock was snaffled by Danny Green.
But Spurs guard Patty Mills missed a three-point attempt and San Antonio forward LaMarcus Aldridge was unable to grab the rebound before time ran out.
A league statement later gave a breakdown of other mistakes officials made during the match in the final 13.5 seconds of play.
These included a failure to cite Ginobili for a delay of game for stepping on the sideline as well as a missed foul on LaMarcus Aldridge by Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.
Speaking after the defeat, Ginobili refused to blame the missed call against Waiters for deciding the game.
“I don’t know what it is, to tell you the truth, what type of a violation it is,” Ginobili said.
“It’s got to be something. But again, it’s not that play that decided anything because we got the steal, we got a shot, we got an offensive rebound.
“I really don’t know. I’ve never seen a play like that. We’re not gonna be able to change it. Nobody’s gonna change it. It’s 1-1. We’ve got to go to OKC and try to win a game.”