Home > Ball out of bounds call, Denver Nuggets, Loose ball foul, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phantom foul > Thunder-Nuggets (Game 3): Close game at the end had a few plays that could have made it closer

Thunder-Nuggets (Game 3): Close game at the end had a few plays that could have made it closer

Here are 3 plays from the fourth quarter of the Denver-Oklahoma City game played Saturday night that could have had an impact in changing the outcome of the game (OKC won 97-94 and has taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the series).

The ref crew from this game consisted of Derrick Stafford (#49), Eric Lewis (#42), and Jason Phillips (#23). Game 4 of this series will be played Monday night in Denver where the Thunder can close-out and sweep the series.

On Monday afternoon, we’ll be posting a few clips of calls from the other playoff games played Sunday, namely Celtics-Knicks, Magic-Hawks, and Lakers-Hornets.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    Yeah, we had taken a look at the arm and hand, and unfortunately the video was inconclusive to us. Usually when a player gets hit on the hand or arm on a jump shot as important as this one, they almost always signal using their hands where they got fouled, like on the wrist or arm. If Smith had done that, then we would have added to our commentary something like “Smith claims he was hit on the arm or wrist, but we are not able to definitively see it. If he was, obviously it would be a foul. If he wasn’t, then we conclude it wasn’t a foul (for the reasons we cited).”

    Also, when players think there was contact lower than than arms, like in the body, they very rarely point to the part of their torso or stomach where they claim the foul occurred. They just might yell “foul” like Smith did here.

    That said, we don’t use the players’ claims to determine if fouls occurred, but in a case like this one where it had such a big bearing on the outcome of a game (those are the ones we typically review), we’ll take a look at everything we can to help us draw a conclusion, if possible. We picked this particular play because we were sure there were many folks who would be interested since it was a last-second shot where a player was claiming he was fouled, even if both announcers were saying he wasn’t.

    • http://profiles.google.com/dary.merckens Dary Merckens

      See, my gut reaction when I watched it live was it was perfect defense until the shot and then Harden let his arm slip down a bit from vertical (which is so hard to stop from happening). You can even see in the replay (around 2:15) how his fingers bend back from the contact with Smith’s arm. And in terms of Smith’s reaction not pointing to his arm to show where he got hit, I imagine he didn’t just because he lost his mind when there was no call and in his rage forgot to show the ref where he was hit :)

      It could’ve gone either way. The refs were probably giving Harden the benefit of the doubt for getting Smith into such an awful shot in the first place (it was great defense establishing position so far away from the bucket). I thought the call could’ve been made though and it would have been fun seeing Smith shoot 3 free throws with no time (or fractions of a second) left on the clock.