Damian Lillard

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Morning tip: Controversial ending in Portland goes in favor of Wizards this time

Morning tip: Controversial ending in Portland goes in favor of Wizards this time

Markieff Morris' foot was out of bounds. It was evident in real time, and didn't require slow-motion replays to determine that if it was orginally called that his pull-up jumper with 0.4 seconds left to beat the Portland Trail Blazers it would've been confirmed upon review and waved off.

But that's not what happened Saturday, and the Wizards won 125-124 in overtime instead to go 4-0 with one game remaining on this Western Conference road trip. 

A last two-minute report that'll be released by the league on Sunday will say Morris is out. That's because after the game, crew chief Rodney Mott answered questions from a pool reporter on whether or not Morris was out and why the basket still counted:

It was a crushing blow for the Blazers (28-36), who are fighting for their playoff lives. But this isn't the first time a game had a controversial end in Portland.

Last year, March 8, 2016, the Wizards lost 116-109 in overtime. It was a game they had won in regulation, but then-guard Gerald Henderson was allotted well over five seconds to inbound the ball to Damian Lillard who buried a three to force the extra period. 

That Wizards team didn't have the resolve of this one and wilted. The loss dropped them to 30-33 and they'd miss the playoffs at 41-41. Upon review, the league office determined that Lillard's basket shouldn't have been allowed because it was an "incorrect-no call" on the inbound play. 

One blown call doesn't justify another, but it speaks to it being a part of the NBA. Teams benefit from missed calls all the time, especially at the end of games where officials are more focused on the players with the ball. Beal had it for most of the possession.

Did anyone forget about Game 2 of the Western Conference playoffs between the Spurs and Thunder? The NBA conclude its officials missed five -- as in F.I.V.E. -- calls on the final play. The Thunder won in controversial fashion, stole home-court advantage and eventually the series.

It's not an isolated incident. It's not a conspiracy against the Blazers. But having a fourth official, who is in an elevated position and looks off the ball for infractions such as holding and fouling off the ball, would be help clean up the game. Given the explosion of rights fees, the NBA certainly can afford it. 

For now, it'll count as the Wizards' 41st win.

:I can't reallly tell but the refs didn’t call it," Morris said on whether or not he was out. "They didn’t call it, that’s all I know."

 

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Reports: Kyle Lowry in, Damian Lillard out for Rio Olympics

Reports: Kyle Lowry in, Damian Lillard out for Rio Olympics

USA Basketball has added one star guard and lost another from its Olympics roster. According to a Thursday report, Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry accepted an invitation to compete in Rio. 

Shortly after, a second report emerged that Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will not participate in the Olympics because of ongoing rehab for a plantar fasciitis-related injury. 

Neither Lillard nor Lowry were part of the 30-man Olympic roster announced in January, but were added later to strengthen the player pool. 

Chris Paul, John Wall, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook all dropped out of the Olympics in recent months. 

That leaves three point guards on the roster: Kyrie Irving, Mike Conley and Lowry. 

There are four remaining shooting guards: Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan and Bradley Beal. 

The turmoil at point guard almost certainly would have given Wall an opportunity to represent the U.S. in Rio, but two knee surgeries ended those hopes. Whether Beal can make a place for himself on the roster remains to be seen.