- Referees missed a crucial double-dribble violation on Kevin Durant with 10 seconds remaining in the Golden State Warriors’ 120-118 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday.
- Durant missed the shot after the double dribble, but DeMarcus Cousins got the offensive rebound, got fouled, and hit the go-ahead free throws.
- If the call had been made, the Heat would have had the ball, with the shot clock off, to take the game-winning shot or go to overtime.
The Golden State Warriors got a narrow 120-118 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday after referees missed a crucial call down the stretch.
With the game tied at 118 with 11 seconds remaining, Kevin Durant had the ball at the top of the key and began sizing up his defender for the go-ahead shot.
As he got a screen from DeMarcus Cousins, Durant began a crossover, lost control of the ball, regained possession, then launched a pull-up three-pointer. The shot missed, but Cousins got the offensive rebound, got fouled, and sank the go-ahead free throws. The Heat bench immediately began complaining to the referees for the missed double-dribble call on Durant.
Replays showed that nobody had touched the ball, so when Durant picked up the loose ball and began dribbling, it should have been a double dribble.
After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra expressed frustration with the officiating.
“It’s a double dribble,” Spoelstra said. “Everybody can see it. Those are tough calls to make, but everybody saw it. It’s right there in front of everybody. That should be a violation.”
Spoelstra also made a plea with the NBA.
“NBA, don’t fine me, I’m allowed to say this,” he said. Spoelstra noted that the missed violation wasn’t the reason they lost but it had a big impact.
If the double-dribble call had been made, the Heat would have gotten the ball back, with the shot clock off, to take the game-winning shot. If they missed, at worst, they would head to overtime.
There is plenty of the season left, but the Heat, at 25-29, are fighting for the last playoff seed. If they miss it, close endings like this will come back to haunt them.
The Warriors, meanwhile, continue to roll, as they’re now 16-2 in their last 18 games.
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