Referee Joey Crawford ices Kevin Durant’s free throw


(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

A referee was directly involved in the final, crucial moments of an NBA playoff game involving the presumptive MVP and, on Tuesday, it was the second-biggest headache for Adam Silver.

Now, after dropping the hammer on Donald Sterling, Silver can take a look at what happened at the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

With OK City trailing by a point in overtime with less than 30 seconds left and Kevin Durant at the line for his second free throw, Joey Crawford halted the proceedings to take the ball from Durant and trot over to the scorer’s table. The Chesapeake Energy Arena scoreboard, it seems, wasn’t showing the proper number of team fouls and Crawford, a veteran referee, wanted five fouls shown, indicating that the Grizzlies were in the bonus.


(Courtesy SB Nation)

You know what happened next. MVP interruptus doomed Durant on the next FT attempt, the Thunder lost 100-99 and Memphis leads the series 3-2.

“It was an awkward situation, I’ll say that,” Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said (via NewsOK.com).

Durant, a career 88 percent free-throw shooter, said he “was just trying to stay focused and knock the free throw down. I don’t know what happened, but I got to make that free throw.”

Crawford, screaming at the scoreboard operator, wanted five fouls to be displayed, an indicator that the Grizzlies were in the bonus. Oklahoma City got a defensive rebound with three seconds left, but Durant’s 28-foot three-point attempt was no good.

Earlier this week, Crawford ran in front of Stephen Curry as he lined up a three-point shot in Game 4 of the Clippers-Warriors series.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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