Golden StateWarriors

Replay official: ‘Unfortunate miss' on Westbrook travel


OAKLAND – It was a crucial non-call, at a critical moment and it cost the Warriors a chance to tie Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

The lack of a whistle also may have saved the victory for Oklahoma City.

With about 19 seconds left to play and the Warriors trailing 105-102, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook dribbled across halfcourt against the defense of Klay Thompson, the Thunder guard stopped his dribble in an attempt to call a timeout.

Though both of Westbrook’s feet kept moving, an obvious traveling violation, he was granted the timeout by lead official Monty McCutcheon with 17.2 seconds left.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr pleaded for the travel call, to no avail. Several Warriors players, Stephen Curry in particular, signaled a travel, also to no avail. Veteran play-by-play man Marv Albert, on the TNT telecast, told a national TV audience a travel had been called. He was wrong.

The Oracle Arena crowd was incensed, its dissent reaching ear-splitting levels.

All three officials missed the call, according to Joe Borgia, senior vice president for replay and referee operations.

“Yeah, you know, you have a tough play here,” told the network. “You've got a pretty quick transition play. The officials are thinking possibly that Thompson might want to take a foul, so they're focusing a lot on Thompson. Then all of a sudden Westbrook just pulls up. The officials, no one could get in a good position to see him drag that pivot foot.

“It's an unfortunate miss, but so much going on in the play, the speed of it, and officiating is about getting angles and sometimes you just can't get them, and they did not get a great angle on that play.”

Kerr said he didn’t confront the officiating crew, but that he believed there was a violation.

“I thought he walked,” Kerr said. “But it wasn’t called, so that’s the way it goes.”

Rather than a turnover to the Warriors, the Thunder retained possession. Westbrook, fouled by Andre Iguodala, made one of two free throwd with 15.4 seconds remaining to give OKC a 106-102 lead.

The Warriors never scored again, as Westbrook made two more free throws with 9.0 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

Asked afterward about the no-call, Westbrook essentially took the fifth.

“I just played until I heard the whistle,” he said.

Another NBA playoff game with another officiating gaffe, and nobody has to wait until the Last Two Minutes report is issued Tuesday morning.

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