(CBS) Controversy engulfed the final seconds of the Thunder’s come-from-behind 105-104 victory against the Clippers in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series last night.
At issue was a decision by the officials — with about 11 seconds left — to award the Thunder the ball after Reggie Jackson drove the lane and lost the ball following contact by the Clippers’ Matt Barnes on his hand(s). The officials originally ruled the ball went off of Barnes, then went to video replay for review. Video appeared to clearly show that the ball last went off of Jackson’s hand, but the officials explained to the Clippers (and later to the public) that it was inconclusive, thus keeping the ball with the Thunder.
The ruling caused Clippers coach Doc Rivers to go off, both in the moment and in a postgame news conference.
While the officials gave an odd explanation for keeping the ball with the Thunder, a little-known NBA rule actually supported their call.
From Rule 8 Section II – c of the NBA rulebook:
If a player has his hand in contact with the ball and an opponent hits the hand causing the ball to go out-of-bounds, the team whose player had his hand on the ball will retain possession.
If you’re of the belief that Barnes hitting Jackson’s left hand caused the ball to go out of bounds, you probably agree with the ruling to give the Thunder the ball. If your interpretation this rule is that because the ball was last touched off Jackson’s right hand, and Barnes would have needed to touch his right hand and not his left to keep the ball with the Thunder, then you probably believe the wrong call was made.
Take a look at the video for yourself, then vote below. Did the refs get it right (even if by accident)?