One erased game-winner deserves another. On Wednesday, Amar'e Stoudemire's would-be game-winning three was called off because the Knick released the shot a touch after the buzzer blared. On Thursday, Stoudemire's good friend and potential future co-star Carmelo Anthony suffered a similar fate.
They say superstars get special treatment with the game on the line. If that's the case, Manu Ginobili is a bigger star than 'Melo, because Manu got this call.
Anthony was called for the charge, effectively ending the game. On replay, the referees are vindicated; that was the textbook definition of an offensive foul. Ginobili was in position and planted before 'Melo left his feet. Manu did lean forward some, but given how deep Anthony had gone, it didn't matter. The refs made the correct call.
But that's a tough whistle to blow. There were about 17 bodies in the paint (the Spurs were not surprised a 'Melo dribble-drive was the playcall of choice for the Nuggets), and Ginobili has a bit of a reputation as a flopper. It would have been a lot easier for the refs to swallow their whistles and let men be men, ta' hell with rules. Most of the time, that happens. But it was a charge, and deserved to be called as such.
What a torturous finish, just as Knicks fans and, well, the Knicks themselves suffered Wednesday night. Manu's wacky leaner to give the Spurs that final lead was heartrending enough. But a made bucket wiped off the scoreboard by an offensive foul to follow it? Brutal. Nuggets fans' health (mental and otherwise) would have been better off with a bricked J.R. Smith 27-footer. (Alright, maybe not.)