At the end of Thursday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Thunder were down 98-96 with the ball and ten seconds on the clock. Kevin Durant received a pass on the low blocks and pulled up for a jumper that would’ve tied the game. He missed. The Heat got the rebound. LeBron James went and made two free throws on the other end. Game, essentially, over.
Upon further inspection of the replay (see for yourself above), it became pretty clear that part of the reason Durant missed the shot — which, considering his talents, might’ve been one of the more makeable attempts he had all night — had to do with the fact that James fouled him in the process of shooting. It wasn’t called.
CONSPIRACY. TRAGEDY. THE THUNDER WERE ROBBED.
But not really. Missed calls are a part of sports, and for all those Thunder fans who are bemoaning how that play went down, here’s a reminder that, in terms of karma, that final no-call might have only leveled the scales for OKC. Midway through the fourth quarter, Durant — working with five fouls, or t-1 from fouling out — plowed through Shane Battier on his way to the hoop. Battier, one of the NBA’s best at positioning himself in front of opposing players, looked to be in place to take the charge. Instead, he was called for blocking, Durant escaped what probably should’ve been his sixth foul, and the Thunder clawed their way back into the game.
Had that call gone the other way, Durant would never have been able to score 16 points in the fourth quarter, and the Thunder wouldn’t have nearly made the series 2-0. It’s a cruel world we live in, but at least in the case of Game 2, that cruel world is one neither side can really complain about.