NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been around a while. He’s seen a good amount of NBA action in his day, and he is no stranger to the playoffs and the championships race. So, for Magic to tweet that the ending to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 98-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs included “the worst missed call in playoff history,” it should tell you something.
The end of the game was an absolute mess; however, Johnson is referring specifically to an inbound pass from OKC’s Dion Waiters in which he leaned over the line with the ball (violation No. 1) and then pushed Spurs’ Manu Ginobili out of the way (No. 2). Of course, as Thunder fans quickly pointed out, Manu stepped on the line in defense of the inbound pass, which is a delay of game violation.
The NBA admitted to missing all of that, as well as fouls committed by San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills and Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka. The whole thing was just embarrassing.
“On the floor, we did not see a foul on the play,” said lead referee Ken Mauer after the game. “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.”
If you ask me, the entire crew should be benched for the rest of the playoffs this season. Manu stepping on the line is a reasonable no-call, as the ref isn’t necessarily looking at the floor; however, there is no excuse, especially with a referee standing right there, for missing Waiters’ lean over the line and shove. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Of course, the players and coaches gave their two cents on the situation after the game, each coming out in defense of his respective team—except for Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, who wanted nothing to do with those questions.
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I’m not sure what call you’re talking about…I have no idea about that,” said Donovan after the game. “I haven’t see the clip.”
Sounds like Donovan could have a very successful career as a politician if the whole coaching thing doesn’t pan out.