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Thunder-Clippers: Officials made 'correct call' says former NBA vice president

by Erik Horne Published: May 14, 2014

On Wednesday, Stu Jackson — a former NBA head coach and executive vice president of basketball operations -- joined NBA.com’s Hangtime podcast to talk about  Tuesday’s controversial ending to Thunder-Clippers Game 5. You can listen to the full audio here.

The game ended with the Thunder winning 105-104 and Clippers coach Doc Rivers irate about the Thunder keeping possession in the waning seconds when the ball appeared to go out of bounds off of Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson.

“It was quite an ordeal there at the end of the game — particularly with 11 seconds to go — that was sort of complicated by the statement that the referee gave to the pool reporter,” Jackson said.

Shortly after the game, NBA crew chief Tony Brothers issued a statement explaining the call.

The statement by Brothers:

“When the ball goes out of bounds, the ball was awarded to Oklahoma City. We go review the play. We saw two replays. The two replays we saw were from the overhead camera showing down and the one from under the basket showing the same angle but from a different view. And from those two replays, it was inconclusive as to who the ball went out of bounds off. When it’s inconclusive, we have to go with the call that was on the floor.”

But, as pointed out by SI.com’s Ben Golliver, missing from that statement is an explanation of the official rule that favored the Thunder — a rule that was being circulated like wildfire around social media last night.

 

“Post-game, it made for a confusing outcome and uncertainty among us that are fans of the game,” Jackson said on the podcast.

Jackson said it was the right call initially (and cited the NBA rule last night on Twitter). “I thought last night, the officials – while we can debate and debate did they do the right thing (not being more specific in their statement) – I thought it was the correct call at the result of a long process,” said Jackson.

Jackson continued: “The ruling on the floor, to me, was the correct call because that was the referee’s judgment. You can’t fault a referee’s judgment in split-second timing. That’s why we have the instant replay rule. The replay rule, as we know, calls for a call to be made on the floor, a judgment to be made on the floor.

“Once they went to replay, after the judgment that the ball had gone off of OKC, once they went to replay, in my mind, the referees made the right decision because the video review – the angles I saw on the broadcast and even this morning after further review – are inconclusive, and put another way, not conclusive enough to overturn that call and give the ball back to the Clippers.”

Following the game, Rivers was livid. He’ll more than likely draw a fine from the league.

“I don’t need it,” Rivers said Tuesday night, when asked if he expected to see a league office statement. “I’ll release the memo. They. Blew. The. Call. That’s the memo.”

by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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