ABC's camera behind the basket captured the crucial play of the game: LeBron James fouling Kevin Durant as he missed a short jumper with Oklahoma City trailing 98-96 with seven seconds remaining.
“At that angle, there is no question it was a foul,” game analyst Jeff Van Gundy said.
Several of the ABC studio analysts agreed. “It was a foul,” Michael Wilbon said. “Once, twice, that's a foul, period. Go to the line. Should have been shooting two.”
Magic Johnson said: “It definitely was a foul. But at the end of the day this is what happens when you're not the aggressive team, and when you don't set the tone for the game, you don't get the call... They didn't lose the game on the foul. They lost the game in the first quarter.”
The definitive comments came from former referee Steve Javie, who called two NBA Finals game last year before retiring with a bad knee. Javie noted the official was out of position to make the call.
“He didn't have the right angle to see the foul,” Javie said. “He was looking at Kevin Durant's left shoulder where LeBron fouled him on the right side. … Nobody feels worse then the official himself. The officials did a wonderful job tonight. Unfortunately, this play at the end happened.”
ABC's cameras again didn't miss a shot as the Heat collected what Wilbon called its biggest playoff victory ever.
Johnson applauded James for a strong fourth quarter. “LeBron dominated and he finally closed,” he said. “This was good for him.”
At halftime, Johnson blasted Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook with all his guns blazing.
“That was the worst point guard performance in a championship finals I've ever seen,” Johnson said. “He was too wild. He was taking off-balance shots. You got to come out and set the tone with Kevin Durant.”
After the game, Stephen A. Smith agreed with the “worst” assessment.
“He kept jacking up shots … He still did not find a way to get Kevin Durant the ball enough,” Smith said.
Chris Broussard said the Thunder was basically playing without a point guard.
ABC analysts agreed Durant and James Harden should have gotten more shots. Wilbon, who at halftime predicted the Thunder would not come back in Game 2, said if the two had combined for 38 to 40 shots, the outcome might have been different.
“I think they could have come back and won the game,” Wilbon said.
Jon Barry said, “They have to find a way to get him the ball more often if they're going to win the series.”
* ABC captured Thunder coach Scott Brooks addressing his team in the locker room after the game, noting the team’s slow starts. “We got to focus on getting Game 3, but it has to be from the start, from the start. … We got to play 48 minutes like we did in the second half.”
* Van Gundy supported Brooks’ decision to leave Durant in the game after getting his fourth and later fifth fouls because of his “basketball IQ.”
* In the pregame show, Jon Barry was the only studio analyst to pick the Thunder to win, expecting a better performance from Harden than his five points in Game 1.
* ABC had several replays showing a goaltending call on Serge Ibaka was incorrect because the ball had been hit before Ibaka swatted it. It would have been nice for ABC to get a comment from Javie on the play. Mike Breen, who has surpassed TNT’s Marv Albert as the league’s premier play-by-play announcer, noted the call was incorrect.
* Van Gundy on Javie, who retired because of a bad knee: “I’m saying we ought to put Steve Javie on a Segway and let him referee.”