For the second time in five games, there was a controversial no-call in the final seconds between the Thunder and Spurs. The latest issue came in the closing seconds of Game 5 when Kawhi Leonard appeared to clearly foul Russell Westbrook, but it wasn't called and Westbrook went on to score and get fouled on the hoop.
Russ with the AND-1 as the @okcthunder take the lead! https://t.co/hj3mbhhQ6R— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 11, 2016
A view from the baseline makes the foul look even more obvious.
In that situation, referees know a team is attempting to foul and are usually quick with their whistles. For whatever reason, that wasn't the case here. Instead of calling the foul on the floor against Leonard, officials allowed the play to go on and then called LaMarcus Aldridge for a foul on Westbrook's layup.
The play was massive. Instead of sending Westbrook to the line for two free throws and a chance to give Oklahoma City a three-point lead, Westbrook went to the line to make it a four-point game. He made the free throw and effectively killed any chance the Spurs had of a comeback.
After the game, Gregg Popovich said it was "pretty obvious" Leonard fouled Westbrook.
The Spurs were in a troublesome spot either way, but the no-call was a significant blow to what little chance they had. Here is a look at the Spurs chance of winning based on a few possible outcomes had the foul been called on Leonard with 8.8 seconds to play.
Let's assume the Spurs got the ball back with 8.0 seconds left. All of the following percentages are thanks to Inpredictable.com.
- If Westbrook misses both free throws, San Antonio has a 32.1 percent chance to win.
- If Westbrook makes one of two free throws, San Antonio has a 14.8 percent chance to win.
- If Westbrook makes both free throws, San Antonio has a 6.7 percent chance to win.
Still low odds, but after Westbrook made the free throw following the bucket, the Spurs chance of winning dropped to just 1.2 percent.
The ending was on the heels of a wild Game 2 ending that saw the NBA admit to five mistakes by the officials in the final 13 seconds.
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