The NBA acknowledged Sunday that its referees missed a crucial foul call during the closing minute of the Warriors' 109-105 road victory over the Clippers in Game 1 on Saturday.
With just over 20 seconds remaining in regulation and Golden State leading 107-105, Chris Paul drove to his right from the top of the key. Draymond Green moved into Paul's path, forcing him towards the sideline, and Paul lost control of the ball out of bounds. Video replays confirmed that Paul was the last player to touch the ball, but they also suggested that Green had fouled him on the play by reaching across Paul's left arm.
The league's president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a statement that "Paul was fouled by Green" and added that Paul should have awarded two free throws on the play.
Thorn's statement also confirmed that the referees had made the correct ruling during the replay situation. By league rules, the referees are able to review an out-of-bounds call in the last two minutes of a game to determine who touched the ball last. During that review, they are not allowed to retroactively assess a foul call, even if it influenced who would gain possession.
To recap: the league determined that the referees correctly ruled that it was Golden State's ball following the play, but they missed a foul call which would have put Paul on the line with a chance to tie before the ball went out of bounds.
On the ensuing possession, Harrison Barnes made one of two free throws to put the Warriors up by three points. Paul was then fouled on L.A.'s next trip up the court, but he missed both shots, effectively ending the game.
Game 1 between the Warriors saw a total of 51 foul calls. Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Warriors guard Andre Iguodala both fouled out of the game despite playing just 20 minutes or less. Many observers concluded that the game was called tightly by the officials because of looming bad blood between the two Pacific Division rivals.
Golden State, the West's No. 6 seed, holds a 1-0 series lead over L.A., the West's No. 3 seed. Game 2 is set for Staples Center on Monday.