The finish of Game 5 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder was a wild one, with plenty of controversial calls in the final minute. One ruling in particular that got everyone heated was an out of bounds ruling from the officials that gave the Thunder the ball with a chance to win the game.
Reggie Jackson was driving the ball to the hoop, when Matt Barnes hit his hand which was on the ball and forced the ball to go out of bounds.
Many believe that the Clippers should have received possession since Barnes never touched the ball, but the referees actually may have made the right ruling by giving the ball back to Oklahoma City for the possession that led to their win.
The NBA rule book reads, “If a player has his hand in contact with the ball and an opponent hits the hand causing the ball to go out-of-bounds, the team whose player had his hand on the ball will retain possession.”
Now, here is a video of how the play went down:
While it may be controversial and easy to blame the referees, it sure appears that they could have been making the right call. If anything, the whistle should have blown for a foul on Barnes, which would have still given the Thunder a chance to win.
We also can’t ignore the fact that the Clippers blew a double-digit lead in the final minutes, so the loss is all on them.
UPDATE: The referees in charge of Tuesday’s game between the Clippers and Thunder gave an explanation for the ruling that does not use the rule stated in this article. Instead, referee Tony Brothers simply said there was not enough evidence. You can read their explanation here.