LOS ANGELES: The NBA on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) admitted missing a traveling violation by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook at a key moment in the Thunder’s thrilling Western Conference playoff win over Golden State.
NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia acknowledged that the officiating crew in Monday’s game, won 108-102 by the Thunder, had not spotted Westbrook lifting his pivot foot in the closing seconds.
The violation occurred with Oklahoma City leading 103-100 and 17.2 seconds left on the clock.
But instead of possession being awarded to the Warriors, referee Monty McCutchen awarded Westbrook a timeout.
When play resumed, Westbrook was fouled and scored from two free throws to give Oklahoma City a five-point lead.
“The officials, no one could get in a good position to see him drag that pivot foot,” Borgia told NBA TV.
“It’s an unfortunate miss, but so much going on in the play, the speed of it, and officiating is about getting angles and sometimes you just can’t get them, and they did not get a great angle on that play.”
Game Two in the best-of-seven series takes place on Wednesday.