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Thunder vs. Spurs Referee Comments on Dion Waiters, Manu Ginobili Non-Foul Call

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2016

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili reacts to a foul call during the first half of Game 3 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, April 22, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Following a controversial ending in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 98-97 Game 2 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, an official admitted missing a potentially crucial call.

As seen in the following video, Thunder guard Dion Waiters was attempting to inbound the ball with 13.5 seconds remaining with Spurs guard Manu Ginobili in his face. To create space, Waiters nudged Ginobili backward with his elbow:

Officials didn't call a foul, but after the game, lead referee Ken Mauer said it was an oversight on the part of his staff, according to NBA Official on Twitter:

NBA Official @NBAOfficial

Pool Reporter Transcript from tonight's OKC/San Antonio game https://t.co/uMXiRPdrqT

NBA Referees also addressed the situation on Twitter:

NBA Referees @OfficialNBARefs

The end of game inbound foul in #OKCvsSAS was one we've never seen before & we missed it. We'll incorporate this in training moving forward.

While the Spurs were able to steal the ball and get off a shot attempt before the end of the game, a foul call would have allowed them to set up their offense.

Although Ginobili thought something should have been called on the inbounds, he also conceded the play didn't decide the game, per ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright:

I don't know what it is, to tell you the truth, what type of a violation it is. It's got to be something. But again, it's not that play that decided anything because we got the steal, we got a shot, we got an offensive rebound. I really don't know. I've never seen a play like that. I don't know what should have been called or if it should have been called anything. It doesn't matter. It's over. We're not gonna be able to change it. Nobody's gonna change it. It's 1-1. We've got to go to OKC and try to win a game.

Hall of Famer Magic Johnson believed the missed call was egregious:

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

Waiters foul on Ginobili was the worst missed call in playoff history.

As seen in the following photo, courtesy of WGN Radio's Adam Hoge, however, Ginobili appeared to step out of bounds while defending Waiters' inbound pass, which is also illegal:

Adam Hoge @AdamHoge

Obviously Waiters can't shove Ginobili, but Ginobili can't go over the line either. https://t.co/9SY1UO8FLH

Regardless of the moving parts involved, OKC managed to even the series at 1-1 and hand San Antonio only its second loss of the season on its home court at the AT&T Center.

The victory was a huge one for the Thunder, especially after getting embarrassed by a 124-92 score in Game 1.

While it's possible a foul call could have changed the complexion and ultimate result of the game, the Spurs had their fair share of chances to make up for the one-point margin of defeat throughout.

Now their focus must shift on getting a win back in Oklahoma City.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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