The NBA announced on Wednesday evening officials made the correct call late in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 105-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday night.
With the Thunder trailing by two with under 20 seconds to go, OKC’s Reggie Jackson had the ball knocked out of his hands by L.A.’s Matt Barnes.
It appeared on replay Jackson may have touched the ball last on its way out of bounds, but officials reviewed the play on a replay monitor and gave the ball to Oklahoma City, which sent Clippers coach Doc Rivers into a sideline tirade.
The NBA’s president of basketball operations, Rod Thorn, issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“With 11.3 seconds left in the game, the basketball went out of bounds on the baseline and the referees ruled the ball belonged to the Thunder,” The referees then used instant replay to review the play. In order to reverse the call made on the court, there has to be ‘clear and conclusive’ evidence.
“Since no replay provided such evidence, the play correctly stood as called with the Thunder retaining possession.”
The Thunder then took the lead on the next play, when Russell Westbrook was fouled shooting a three-point shot.
He made all three free throws to give OKC the lead 105-104, and the Thunder went on to win by that score.
After the game, Rivers criticized the officials ruling, saying his team was robbed of the win.
The league did not issue a reprimand or fine to Rivers, but it’s possible that could still happen.
The Thunder play the Clippers in Los Angeles Thursday night at 9:30 central time at the Staples Center, and OKC leads the series three-games-to-two.