Oklahoma City Thunder benefit from NBA Playoffs Officiating Problems

Oklahoma City Thunder benefit from NBA Playoffs Officiating Problems

Oklahoma City Thunder benefit from NBA Playoffs Officiating Problems

The NBA Playoffs Officiating Problem: Oklahoma City Thunder Continue to Benefit

I’m going to throw a crazy conspiracy theory at you all: Adam Silver and the NBA don’t want Kevin Durant to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency.

Now, the NBA has been known to meddle in player affairs before, most notably blocking the trade that would have moved Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers. The league, however, cannot flat out prevent a player from signing wherever his heart desires in free agency.

The impending free agency of Durant poses a huge issue for the league, especially with the Golden State Warriors (73-9) and San Antonio Spurs (67-13) emerging as two of the favorites in signing the man widely considered one of the top five players in the world. Much like LeBron James’s exodus to the Miami Heat, the league doesn’t like superstars conglomerating on one team to form a dynasty.

So what can the NBA do to prevent Kevin Durant from jumping ship? Well, how about give him another taste of that sweet, sweet NBA Championship he’s been chasing with the Thunder for eight years. The last time, of course, didn’t go so well with the Heat taking the Thunder out in five games back in 2012.

Despite a couple of Western Conference Finals appearances, Durant and company have never made it back to the Finals. So maybe—just maybe—a trip back to the NBA’s biggest stage in 2016 would convince Durant to resign with the Thunder for at least a year or two, right?

Once again, I could be completely overthinking this theory. I do, after all, have a tendency to overanalyze oddities in professional sports. But, the NBA’s seemingly inability to correct the officiating problems plaguing the 2016 postseason—all of which have benefited the Thunder significantly—screams league office agenda.

It started in Game Two when the NBA’s “Last Two-Minutes Report” turned up five total screw ups on the part of the refs—most notably when Dion Waiters crossed the line while inbounding the ball to push Manu Ginobili out of the way. Thunder fans pointed to Ginobili’s foot on the line; however, you cannot argue that the two are equally obvious to the refs.

The result was a Thunder victory in San Antonio.

Game Five was the same situation. After taking one of the games in OKC, the Spurs had tied the series at 2-2 heading back home to Texas. With less than 10 seconds left, Russell Westbrook got the inbound pass and was almost immediately fouled by Kawhi Leonard—that foul, however, was not called. Westbrook was then able to drive in, score, and draw the foul on LaMarcus Aldridge, who seemed to believe a foul was going to be called on Leonard.

“Sometimes you get a call, sometimes you don’t,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich after the game. I guess there’s not much to say. The NBA admitting they screwed up doesn’t do much to bring the Spurs back into the postseason.

With the demise of the Spurs, the Thunder and the referees became the Golden State Warriors’ problem. It took one game for the Warriors to learn just what they were up against, as Westbrook lost his balanced with 17 seconds left, stumbled backwards, and passed the ball after a few obvious steps.

No travel was called, the Thunder maintain possession, and they went on to win the game.

“I thought he walked,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, careful not to say too much after Game One.

It only takes one game to shift the momentum of a series. Now, the Thunder head back home with home-court advantage. Should they lose it, maybe the officiating moving forward is something to keep an eye on.


Chris covers everything NBA, NFL and NCAA with his weekly recaps, highlights and anything else he thinks you'll want to know about and more than likely things you don't want to hear about your favorite team. His take no prisoners opinion gets some fans worked up, but that's because he's almost always right.

More in NBA

knicks unprofessional timeline for kristaps porzingis trade rumors 2017 images

Knicks unprofessional timeline for Kristaps Porzingis trade rumors

Chris MauriceApril 17, 2017
los angles clippers woes continue with jazz 2017 images

Los Angeles Clippers woes continue with Jazz

Chris MauriceApril 17, 2017
phil jackson pulls welcome mat out from under carmelo anthony 2017 images

Phil Jackson pulls welcome mat out from under Carmelo Anthony

Chris MauriceApril 15, 2017
tracy mcgrady vindicated by pro basketball hall of fame 2017 selection images

Tracy McGrady vindicated by Pro basketball Hall of Fame 2017 selection

Chris MauriceApril 9, 2017
boston celtics keeping lead on cleveland cavaliers 2017 images

Boston Celtics keeping lead on Cleveland Cavaliers

Chris MauriceApril 3, 2017
devin booker 70 points doesn't help suns against celtics 2017 images

Devin Booker’s 70 points doesn’t help Suns against Celtics

Chris MauriceMarch 27, 2017
how bad is lonzo balls father lavar hurting his nba future 2017 images

How bad is Lonzo Ball’s father LaVar hurting his NBA future?

Chris MauriceMarch 21, 2017
doc rivers hating nba back to back scheduling 2017 images

Doc Rivers hating NBA back to back scheduling

Chris MauriceMarch 19, 2017
ready for march madness how to stream it live

All your March Madness live streaming options plus point spreads

Luka AlarioMarch 13, 2017

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription