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TNT’s Chris Webber could not believe that Dion Waiters didn’t get an offensive foul

Dion Waiters, center, hugs Thunder teammate Kevin Durant as Enes Kanter, right, celebrates a win over the Spurs. (EPA/Larry W. Smith)

The Thunder did incredibly well Monday to shake off a 32-point loss in Game 1 of its playoff series against the Spurs and take the second game in San Antonio, 98-97. But the immediate aftermath of Oklahoma City’s win was clouded in controversy, as many observers were stunned Thunder guard Dion Waiters was not called for an offensive foul on the game’s final inbounds play.

Count Chris Webber among those observers. And he was observing things from a very privileged vantage point, as TNT’s analyst for the telecast.

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Of the frenetic sequence that unfolded after Waiters inbounded the ball to Kevin Durant, leading to a steal and a missed Spurs shot in the closing moments, Webber declared, “It does not matter. It was an offensive foul. The rest of the five seconds does not matter. Terrible!”

To recap the sequence, with OKC clinging to its one-point lead, Waiters was guarded by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili as he tried to pass the ball in. Waiters appeared to lean over the boundary line and elbow Ginobili; the Argentinean veteran may have sold the contact with a dramatic reaction backwards, but there was little doubt that Waiters had pushed him away.

Webber gave voice on TNT’s telecast to what many expressed online, in terms of stunned disbelief that Waiters had gotten away with his contact on Ginobili. With plenty to potentially explain about how the final seconds played out, the five-time NBA all-star vehemently focused on the inbounds play.

“You can’t push somebody from out of bounds,” Webber said. “I’ve never seen that before!”

With a little more time to digest how the game ended, some began pointing out that many fouls could have been called during the final sequence. In fact, just before getting pushed, Ginoboli invited a whistle by stepping on the boundary line.

Durant was very arguably fouled on his catch of Waiters’s pass, as the Thunder forward was hit by San Antonio’s Danny Green and lost the ball as he fell to the floor. After the Spurs’ Patty Mills missed a shot, teammate LaMarcus Aldridge got an offensive rebound and certainly appeared to have been hacked as the ball was stripped away from him.

Then there was this fan-inflicted foul on OKC’s Steven Adams:

Beyond all the possible foul calls, some were also delighted to remind the world that Webber was the central figure in one of the most notorious end-of-game sequences ever, when he asked for a timeout his Michigan team didn’t have at the end of the 1993 NCAA title game. He was called for a technical foul, and North Carolina got the ball and, effectively, the win.

Who was at fault for what, and how all of that should have affected the outcome of Thunder-Spurs Game 2, will be debated endlessly. But what’s crystal clear is that Webber saw something he could not believe — and he wasn’t at all shy about letting TNT’s audience know about it.

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