Ladies and gentlemen, I am upset. Both teams played some phenomenal basketball in Miami tonight, and to see the titanic clash end the way it did is an insult to the spirit of the game. Regardless of your fanatic affiliation, there can be no question that if the final minutes of overtime were called correctly, the Spurs may have emerged NBA champions.
With 2 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Spurs trailing 100-101, Manu Ginobili attacked the basket and was “stripped” by Ray Allen. By stripped, I mean Allen (blatantly, mind you) raked Ginobili across the arm, forcing the turnover. Boris Diaw then fouled Allen to stop the clock and send him to the line.
Ginobili, who struggled mightily all game, should have been shooting for the lead, not Allen, who shot to extend Miami’s. 2 easy points from one of the best free throw shooters in the game and the Spurs needed a 3 to tie. Cue Danny Green.
The Spurs called a 20 second timeout to advance the ball. Desperate to get the ball in and up, Duncan inbounded to a wildly sprinting Danny Green who launched a corner 3– or at least, he would have launched one if not for the impeding defense of Chris Bosh.
Yes, his hand got the ball. No doubts, no complaints about that. But it was nowhere near a clean block. He barreled into Green, bodying him mid-shot attempt. Danny Green should have been on the line with an opportunity to tie the game, but again the whistle was swallowed.
Commentator, Jeff Van Gundy, said after the game, “I like the non-call, but if you’re saying, ‘is that a foul in the first 46 minutes?’ it absolutely is.” . I understand that in the heat of the moment, especially in NBA finals situations, it is easy to miss calls, but there is absolutely no excuse for blatantly disregarding the rules of the game TWICE; a game which, for the most part, was truly spectacular to watch.
The Heat were able to (without help) recover from a double digit deficit in the 4th quarter to force overtime due to the late game heroics of LeBron James and Ray Allen (who validated his contract with a single shot). The no-calls that undoubtedly affected the outcome of the game spat in the eyes of the fans that were watching and the players on both sides who were fighting tooth and nail.
I want to make it clear that I am not trying to suggest an officiating conspiracy (though they are not alien to the NBA, a la Kings/Lakers Game 6, circa 2002). I am more upset with the state of NBA officiating . The Spurs were robbed for their efforts tonight, due to shoddy officiating in the final seconds. San Antonio will have to wait until Thursday for another opportunity to bring home the trophy and a 5th ring for NBA legend, Tim Duncan, who had 30 points and 17 rebounds in the loss.