Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Clippers-Thunder Late Game Call Shows Where Replay Actually Hurts

There has been a lot of "thunder" about the above play towards the end of the Oklahoma City-Los Angeles playoff game last night.  A quick recap: Reggie Jackson was driving to the basket, Matt Barnes slapped the ball out of Jackson's hand by actually slapping Jackson's hand, the ball goes out of bounds.  The refs didn't call a foul but instead gave the ball to the Thunder out of bounds.

That's when the replay system kicks in.

Looking at the replay, Jackson was the last to touch the ball before it went out of bounds.  However, the refs ... citing lack of indisputable evidence ... didn't reverse the call of the court and kept it Thunder ball.

Everyone was shocked and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was livid.  It was the Clippers, remember, that had a very similar call go against them in their first round series with Golden State.

That's where the replay gets a bit too correct for me.  Like it or not, the NBA does have makeup calls.  For pretty much ever, a ref is more likely to let a play like that be called an out-of-bounds play instead of calling a foul.  While technically a foul, it was a bit of a close one and refs would rather you just take the ball out.  That's the way anyone who has really watched the NBA knows it works.  The players knows that's the way it works, hence not the complete outrage by guys like Chris Paul.  Diehard fans have accepted it.

But with replay hooked into it, it makes it tougher for these make-up calls to happen.  The only way to fix this would be to allow the refs to retroactively call a foul after viewing the replay (like they could have done in the Chris Paul-Draymond Green play in the earlier round), but that too could become a slippery slope.

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