The NBA admitted yesterday that Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green should have been called for a foul on L.A. Clippers guard Chris Paul during a controversial play that was reviewed with 18.9 seconds left in Game 1 of the teams' first round playoff series.
NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn addressed the matter in a release:
"After reviewing postgame video, we have concluded that the instant replay review of the out-of-bounds call with 18.9 seconds remaining in the game involving the Clippers' Chris Paul and the Warriors' Draymond Green was administered correctly by the referees and the correct decision was made in awarding the ball to the Warriors. Under the existing rule, referees may only use instant replay to determine which player caused the ball to go out and a limited set of other reviewable matters (see summary of rule here: http://t.co/IQ2qM6BOjb). Just prior to the ball going out-of-bounds, Paul was fouled by Green and Paul should have been granted two free throws. Contact preceding out-of-bounds calls is not a reviewable matter."
As Steve Perrin of SB Nation's Clips Nation has already noted, so many mistakes were made by the Clippers in that game that it's hard for even coach Doc Rivers or Paul himself to be too upset about the call. However, Perrin also notes that what makes the call interesting in a broader sense is that the replay process resulted in the worst of the three possible outcomes of that call: 1) referee Sean Wright's initial call of Clippers ball out of bounds, 2) a foul on Draymond Green, and 3) Warriors ball out of bounds.
So guess what? The call made in real time was closer to the correct outcome than the call made upon review! The referees stopped the game, made everyone wait, and then made the situation worse. The irony of the league criticizing their own crew for falling victim to the Catch-22 of the replay rules as the league wrote them is pretty delicious actually...The only question that remains here is whether the NBA will modify their asinine rules. Usually it takes something like this -- a major screwup in a big game -- to get them to do something. Forcing the officials to ignore the single biggest part of their job (i.e. calling fouls) while watching a replay has never made any sense.
Perrin has held this position for a while and he's exactly right: there's no reason why the rules should force refs to ignore an infraction made in plain sight while watching a replay for a different purpose, even if they maintain that fouls can't trigger a replay.
Of course, this one worked out in the Warriors' favor, but I'm all for refining this process before it burns the Warriors at a crucial moment.
For more on Game 1 of this series, check out our Warriors-Clippers Game 1 storystream.