The Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-104 on Tuesday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals for a number of reasons, but the one that will stick out was the following play involving Reggie Jackson and Matt Barnes in the waning seconds:
As the Clips were up two points with 11 seconds remaining, the ball came clearly off Jackson as Barnes appears to have fouled him. Rivers’ explained that his belief was the officials used a make-up call in order to rectify it and award the Thunder the ball even though the replay appears to conclusively show otherwise.
As transcribed via Fox Sports Prime Ticket’s broadcast:
“Everybody knows it was our ball,” said Rivers while visibly upset during the post-game press conference. “I think the bottom line was they thought it was a foul, and they made up for it. In my opinion let’s take away replay. Let’s take away the replay system because that’s our ball, we win the game. And we got robbed because of that call.
“And it’s clear. Everybody in the arena saw it, that’s why everybody was shocked when they said ‘Oklahoma City’. That was our ball, whether or a could or not, it was, but they didn’t call it.”
Rivers went on to express displeasure with the systematic failure of the replay system, which ended up failing to rectify precisely the call it was designed to get right. Los Angeles lost the game with carelessness and bad turnovers in the final minutes of a 17-3 Oklahoma City run, but the obviously blown call will forever stand out as the play that could determine the outcome of the series.
“That could be a series defining call,” added Rivers. “And that’s not right.”
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
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