Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

NBA says Kevin Durant’s game-winner vs. Clippers should have been waived off


at Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Harry How

This is ultimately meaningless. This ruling and $4 can get Doc Rivers and the Clippers a latte at Starbucks. Los Angeles still racks up the “L.”

The NBA on Tuesday ruled that Chris Paul should have gotten an and-1 free throw on the lay-up with 12 seconds left that put the Clippers ahead by one point over the Thunder on Monday night. Then, the NBA says Kevin Durant should never have gotten the chance to take what proved to be the game-winner over Luc Mbah a Moute because Serge Ibaka set an illegal screen to free Durant to get the inbounds pass in the first place. Those two rulings made correctly likely change the outcome of the game.

After every close game, the league releases its review of the calls made in the last couple minutes, something that previously went exclusively to the officials themselves. It’s part of Commissioner Adam Silver’s efforts at transparency with officiating. All that includes the report for the final couple minutes of the Thunder/Clippers game.

Chris Paul put the Clippers ahead with 12 seconds left in the game after Russell Westbrook fumbled an inbounds pass. The ball caromed right to CP3, who attacked the rim and made the layup. The league report says on the shot “as he falls to the ground, Westbrook (OKC) undercuts Paul (LAC) and makes contact with his left leg that affects his movement to the basket on the made layup attempt.” Should have been an and-1.

On the following play, as you can see above, Serge Ibaka certainly does set an illegal screen that frees up Durant to get the inbound pass. The report says, “Ibaka (OKC) extends his arms as he sets the screen on Mbah a Moute (LAC) without giving him room to avoid the contact”

The league does not reverse these calls, they just admit their mistakes and move on. The Clippers will try to do the same, but this loss stung, and this report is salt in the wound.