OKC Thunder: NBA admits refs got Andre Roberson call wrong

The NBA last two-minute report confirms an incorrect call made on OKC Thunder wing Andre Roberson. It likely cost OKC the game.

I have a bit of a beef with Paul Millsap over something he did late in the OKC Thunder – Denver Nuggets match.

While the play has been confirmed to have been made incorrectly via the NBA last two-minute report the concerning part is deeper than simply costing the Thunder the game.

Firstly, I’ve never considered Paul Millsap anything but a standup guy. But what he did to Andre Roberson really bothered me (more on that below).

NBA L2M report confirms refs got Roberson call wrong:

The replay video demonstrates the sequence of events…

The play begins at the 19.1-second mark with the Nuggets swinging the ball around the arc. The ball moves to Monte Morris with Nikola Jokic setting a screen for the guard who then turns and drives the basket.

At the six-second mark as Morris nears the basket Andre Roberson is in the paint ready to defend and while he jumps up to block the ball Paul Millsap pushes him in the back (while he’s in the air) and then Morris puts out his arm hitting Roberson in the face.

Roberson falls to the hardwood and remains on the court clearly in pain.

The referees blow the whistle calling a foul sending Morris to the line with the score 107-108 for the Thunder. Morris hits both free throws to put Denver up by one point. On the ensuing play, Chris Paul is fouled but misses one of his free throws sending the game to overtime.

The following offers the L2M report details of the event and why the call was made incorrectly.

Foul: Shooting – Andre Roberson-Monte Morris (incorrect call)

Comment:
Millsap (DEN) extends his arms forward into Roberson’s (OKC) back and alters his legal guarding position forcing him to make contact with Morris (DEN) affecting his shot attempt. An offensive foul should have been assessed to Millsap.

What most fans will take from this is the two foul shots Monte Morris made should never have happened and that likely means the game never goes to overtime. Since the Nuggets were in the penalty, Roberson should’ve been the one shooting free throws. Now we can’t predict what his success would’ve been or whether the Nuggets would’ve scored in the final six seconds – but clearly the call impacted the game.

There’s a good chance the game doesn’t go to overtime because the Thunder win.

These things happen all the time and there’s no use crying over spilled milk. We’ve already touched on the fact the officiating was excessive and erratic in our post-game grades and the three takeaways articles. And, noted the SEVENTY trips made to the charity stripe ended up having a greater impact on the pace and flow (or lack thereof) in the game.

Rather, my issue is deeper and more of an emotional response to what happened. When Paul Millsap pushed Dre in the back as he was suspended in the air it was like a gut punch watching as Roberson hit the court.

My initial thought was he had hurt his leg since he stayed down so long. The replay showing him taking a hit to the face was likely more of the reason why — but that wasn’t definitive.

It’s impossible a veteran like Millsap wouldn’t know of the long rehab journey and setbacks Roberson faced to return to the court. Previously I would have said someone of Millsap’s ilk would be someone who would appreciate and respect how hard Dre worked to come back. I certainly wouldn’t have thought he was the type of player who would commit a dirty play that could’ve resulted in another injury.

Adding fuel to my ire Millsap’s disregard for Dre. Millsap knew fully well he was the reason Dre hit Morris (his push in Dre’s back was why he went into Morris). He also knew that was the reason Roberson lay on the ground.

While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaned over putting his hand on ARob’s back and asked him if he was okay, Millsap walks by them both to pull up his teammate Morris, never once stopping to check on Dre.

Nor does he check on Andre as he is leaning over with his hands on his knees standing on the line clearly shook up and resulting in Donovan subbing in someone to replace him.

My beef is as a vet Millsap knows the trials of injuries and you simply don’t do a dirty play like that (push someone in the back who is in the air) especially when they are just returning from such a long injury absence.

Some of the worst injuries happen when players can’t control their own landing once in the air. Since Roberson is in the air and Morris hit him, he could just as easily have landed awkwardly and suffered a very serious leg injury.

Again, I’ve never felt Roberson was a dirty player, quite the opposite. But for him to not even once check on Andre really bothered me. I’ve ruminated on it for two days and believe things like this deserve follow-up. In my opinion that was a flagrant act and the reason flagrant penalties exist is to stop those actions.

I know because it’s Roberson it’s bothering me more, but Millsap should be given a post-game flagrant for that action.

There is unlikely to be any follow up, and while I’m sure it won’t make a lick of difference, a player I once held in the highest regard I’ve lost all respect for via that one action. Andre Roberson deserved better from Paul Millsap. Even if he was caught up in the game, at the very least Millsap should’ve checked on him after the fact.

The OKC Thunder will play again this evening in their third seeding game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.