This holiday week hasn’t been particularly kind to NBA officials. On the heels of another high-profile blunder Friday night, the league looks like it’s getting set to do something about it.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo’s winning basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday should not have counted after he appeared to step out of bounds along the baseline en route to the rim. Yet despite the presence of referee Leon Wood practically right on top of the play, no whistle was blown, which rendered the play unreviewable, per league rules.
The league’s “Last Two Minute Report” confirmed the mistake, which certainly served as cold comfort to the Thunder. This comes one day after the report from the end of Thursday night’s thrilling Celtics comeback win over the Rockets said that two traveling calls on Boston were missed, and four days following the report on the Christmas Day Finals rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers, won by Golden State, which stated that three fouls by Kevin Durant on LeBron James were missed, including two on the same possession, in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Worse still, the same crew responsible for the errors during Warriors-Cavs officiated the Bucks-Thunder matchup. Not great, Bob.
Per ESPN’s Royce Young, missing Antetokounmpo’s step over the baseline was something of a last straw, prompting the NBA’s competition committee to plan discussions on such plays when it convenes for meetings in March. Still, league spokesman Tim Frank said Saturday, per Young, that while the issue will be taken up, any changes will not be implemented until next season — if there are changes at all.
Until then, fans and players alike will have to continue living both with referee mistakes and the league’s day-after reports singling those errors out. Cold comfort, indeed.
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