If it wasn’t a foul, it was surely close enough to be called one.
The referees didn’t think there was a foul, but it certainly looked like Chris Paul fouled Stephen Curry on the game’s final play. That’s the equivalent of a criminal robbing a bank, the police seeing the robbery in progress, not acting, and then asking the robber if he actually robbed a bank.
That being said, if Paul was called for a foul and Curry did make all three free-throws, the Warriors might have well stolen another game they didn’t actually deserve to win.
Here is the final Warriors possession below:
First, Mark Jackson‘s play call was terrible: a simple one-four isolation for Curry against one of the best defensive guards in the entire league. I understand the Warriors needed a basket, but with eight seconds on the clock having Curry attack Paul one-on-one and settle for a step-back three is not the best possible look.
As Curry pulled up for three, Paul was in his face. So close that Paul’s hand was on Curry’s right hip and his other hand was touching Curry’s elbow. Curry’s shot was not surprisingly way short and you would expect a guy who had hit countless three-pointers just to bring the Warriors within striking distance to at least get in the same area code as the rim.
There was definitely enough contact to call a foul, but there seems to be a constant debate if referees can call that kind of foul to basically decide a game.
That’s why it was a poor play call. The Warriors settled for a contested three-point shot instead of possibly using David Lee in a screen-and-roll action, hoping Blake Griffin switches onto Curry or at least is slow to return to Lee. The Warriors quick-strike three-point shooting offense settled for a shot that was far more Oklahoma City-esque. In late game situations, Thunder coach Scott Brooks only late game play call is called, “get the ball to Kevin Durant at the three-point line and let him go to work.” Jackson called the same play just for Stephen Curry.
The Warriors again put themselves in that predicament thanks to 17 turnovers and a 19 percent three-point shooting percentage. And as a result, they lost the game on a questionable no-call.