NBA Admits Missed Call on Kobe Bryant That Cost Minnesota Timberwolves

By Ryan Heckman


Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night was a gigantic night in the NBA. We saw the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs go down to the wire in exciting fashion. We saw the Chicago Bulls knock off the Miami Heat and end their incredible run with 27 straight wins. And, we saw a dramatic finish to the Minnesota Timberwolves game.

Wait, what was that last one? Yes, you read that right. In the last few seconds of the Los Angeles Lakers showdown with the Wolves, there was a missed call that had point guard Ricky Rubio as heated as anyone has ever seen.

Rubio was racing the ball down the court with just a couple of seconds remaining with his team down by three. They had battled back from a double-digit deficit to be within striking distance. The importance of this game for both teams was not to be understated.

For the Wolves, they had a chance to get one of those end-of-the-season signature wins heading into their off season which is sure to be busy if general manager David Kahn has anything to do with it. For the Lakers, they were clinging to a one game lead on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Therefore, every win is vital.

As Rubio pulled up for a desperation three pointer attempt, Laker guard Kobe Bryant was trailing and stretched out his arm in front of his face. Replays showed that Bryant clearly fouled Rubio on the shot, therefore the antics that followed were justified. Rubio threw his hands up in shock and was pleading with the referee to give an explanation. After giving up the battle, he stormed into the locker room in frustration.

Today, the NBA came out and said that the officials missed the call and they were wrong not to call a foul on Bryant. A statement was released saying, “Video review by the league office confirmed that Kobe Bryant fouled (Ricky) Rubio while Rubio was in his shooting motion. Rubio should have been awarded three free throws.”

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni sarcastically said “They said that? Doggone it.” He obviously didn’t have any comment worth merit on the situation.

Regardless of anyone’s thoughts or reactions, what matters is that the NBA knows the refs got it wrong. What will be interesting is if the Lakers barely squeak into the playoffs by a game. What could have happened in overtime had Rubio sunk all three free throws? You never know. Anything can happen, as proven last night with such a fantastic night of basketball.

Ryan Heckman is a Minnesota Timberwolves writer and NBA contributor for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google

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