This is just a formality. Anyone with eyes and even a cursory understanding of NBA rules knows that Dion Waiters pushed Manu Ginobili at the end of their 98-97 Game 2 win. Thunder coach Billy Donovan might be the only exception.
We all know that the ball should have been awarded to the Spurs, which means they would have had plenty of time to win it before the buzzer. We could have waited for the two-minute report coming later today, which will certainly spell this out for all to see, but — after Mark Cuban implored reporters in San Antonio to ask — lead official Ken Mauer already admitted as much:
The important thing to note here, besides the fact they missed the foul, is that Mauer and his crew said the offensive foul by the man — Waiters — inbounding the ball is “a play that we’ve never seen before, ever.”
Because Mauer had never encountered something like that on the court, perhaps that’s why they all swallowed their whistles. It’s such a blatant foul to all of us watching on TV, but in the heat of the moment on the court, officials are loath to decide a playoff game in the final seconds. So no call was made.
It was the wrong decision, as Mauer allows, but that doesn’t change the outcome.
Game 3 is on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET in Oklahoma City.