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Only the Clippers had other ideas.

The Clippers took the ball out of bounds in the frontcourt and ran a play to get Kawhi Leonard the ball at the top of the key. As Leonard curled toward the ball, James Harden got caught up simply enough on a screen that Leonard had an angle to drive to the basket.

Instead, the refs called an offensive foul that wiped it off the board, provided the Nets the ball and effectively ended the game. Here’s an appearance:

The general agreement was that it was a bad call, and it’s pretty hard to disagree. Leonard’s forearm does make contact with Harden’s chest, however there was no big push-off, and certainly absolutely nothing that needs to have sent out the Nets star flailing backwards. And besides, Harden starts the contact in the first place by leaning on Leonard at the start of the drive.

This needs to have been a no-call, especially with the video game on the line. You don’t wish to completely change how you officiate in the closing seconds and disregard apparent calls just because the game is close, however at the very same time the refs should not be deciding the result. That’s what happened here.


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