Refs Admit Missed Call in POR-OKC Game
If you were watching the grudge match between the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, you know that any single possession could have swung the entire game.
Late in the game, OKC's Paul George drove down the lane late in the fourth quarter of a tied game and swung his elbow back, catching Jusuf Nurkic in the jaw and knocking him to the ground. No foul was called—let alone a flagrant foul—and the Thunder went on to win, 129-121 in OT.
On Friday, Monty McCutchen, a former longtime veteran official and the NBA's vice president of referee development and training, went on ESPN's The Jump and admitted that the call was missed.
"We're accountable to our actions," McCutchen said. "We try to be excellent. We know we're going to be imperfect at times, you know. And this is one of those times."
It's obviously impossible to say whether or not the Blazers would have won the game had that foul been called—the score was tied at 111-111 with less than 20 seconds left—but the string of events that followed would have likely been avoided. Nurkic went down, and later "head butted" George in retribution after a foul that resulted in his second technical of the game, resulting in an ejection.
Portland went on to lose in overtime, and Nurkic's absence was felt.
As a Blazers' fan, it is at least somewhat justifying to hear the officials admit they were wrong. It would be more justifying to have gotten the big win at home over a top-4 team in the West. So it goes.