The Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night 111-106. The game was not without frustration for Portland fans, who believed the officials had their whistles pointed in the wrong direction most of the evening.
If the NBA’s Last Two Minute report is any indication, the Blazers faithful may have a point. The document identifies 3 mistaken calls out of 17 events in the final 120 seconds of the game. All of them went against Portland.
The first incident came with 1 minute, 23 seconds left on the clock. Memphis center Steven Adams pulls on Portland center Jusuf Nurkic’s arm, inhibiting his ability to rebound. The infraction was not whistled. You can see the video here.
One play later, with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining, Blazers forward Jerami Grant was whistled for a traveling violation on the break. (Video here.) The report terms this an incorrect call, saying, “Grant (POR) gathers the ball on his right foot, takes his first step with his left, and legally lands in a jump stop before jumping with both feet on his shot attempt.”
Finally, with one minute remaining, the officials failed to call a three second violation on Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane, who was in the key for more than the required time for such an infraction. (Video here.)
It’s hard to claim that any call, or series of calls, affected an outcome. Given the report and the results, Portland supporters will no doubt point to a single-possession game with 24 seconds remaining and wonder what could have been.