Posted by Royce Young
The league issued a statement telling us something we all already knew: Kendrick Perkins' basket with 1:05 remaining should not have counted. The statement reads:
"Kendrick Perkins was improperly credited with a basket that should have been ruled offensive basket interference with 1:05 remaining in last night’s game. Although a player is permitted to touch the net while the ball is in the cylinder above the rim, Perkins also touched the ball while it was still in the cylinder which is a violation and constitutes goaltending.”
I love when these type of things happen. Yes, it's better that the league acknowledges the gaffe, but it doesn't mean Denver gets its two points back. The tip came at an extremely critical time in the game with the Nuggets leading by one. The basket put the Thunder on top, eventually helping OKC to go on to win a hard fought Game 1 107-103.
George Karl said of the tip, "It very obviously should not have counted."
Matt Moore gave a terrific explanation of the rule and a breakdown of the play last night after it happened. He wrote, "Half the ball is in the cylinder. So it's in the cylinder. But the NBA rulebook does not define "in the cylinder." It's a judgment call, likely left open to protect the officials, like a lot of rule interpretations. But without that, you can make the argument it was in, and out, of the cylinder."
It's very easy to point out how it was a blown call, but basket inference calls have always been one of the very most difficult ones to judge for officials. Not only does it happen in a couple tenths of a second, but the refs almost never have a good angle on it. Perkins' tip though did look a bit more awkward than most because his hand got tangled in the net as he went for it.
From my perspective in the arena, I actually thought Russell Westbrook's shot had dropped through. Most of the other writers around me thought the same thing. So you can imagine the position the officials were in during that situation. They got it wrong. They know and the league knows it. We all figured out what happened on the tip after watching the replay three or four times. The officials didn't have that luxury. Maybe that's the real question though: Why didn't the officials have that luxury?