The NBA has admitted that its officials made mistakes at the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers win on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.
One was on a shot-clock violation in Golden State’s second to last possession. The NBA has said that Kyrie Irving made contact with Andre Iguodala on a foul that was not called. The second came on the Warriors’ final possession, which ended with Kevin Durant tumbling to the ground. The NBA has said that Durant was indeed fouled by Richard Jefferson.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) December 26, 2016
The immediate reaction is, frankly, that none of this matters. Would the result of the game have been different if the calls were correct? Probably. But Cleveland’s win stands.
Additionally, while that was a great game and these two teams have developed quite a rivalry over the last two years, their regular season clashes aren’t going to mean much when and if the NBA Finals trilogy commences in June. Look no further than 2016. The Warriors beat the Cavs twice in the regular season. It didn’t matter at all in June, when Cleveland won the championship.
The other reaction is that the NBA’s report completely failed to point out arguably the biggest mistake the officials made. Following the 24-second violation, Klay Thompson hit a three-point shot. The shot was correctly disallowed, as it came after the shot clock had expired. Yet, the officials decided to take a rather long look at the play to be sure.
Now, had the call been overturned, the Warriors would have been four points and almost certainly would have won the game. But, the correct call was clearly made. The review was waste of time. It also effectively gave the Cavaliers a time out that they did not have. Cleveland did have to take the ball out in the backcourt, but had ample time to draw up a play.
Christmas Day was not the only time this has ever come up, either. The creation of an extra time out in late game situations is something that the NBA needs to fix, otherwise it could happen in the playoffs.