I’ve long maintained that the NBA referees are by far the worst officials in professional sports. Wednesday night in OKC, the refs pulled a unbelievably stupid stunt. Both teams just played right along.
Late in the third quarter, Carmelo drove the lane, slipped and appeared to make contact with Kevin Durant’s arm before falling to the floor. No foul was called and the Nuggets ended up scoring a basket. But then, as Anthony continued to lay on the court, the refs allowed the Thunder to inbound the ball. A long pass down court was broken up, and the ball ended up in J.R. Smith’s hands. You know what happened next–a stupid situation got even stupider.
Of course, Smith went 1-on-4, driving very near Carmelo, who continued to lay on the floor. He got a shot up but was called for traveling–only then was play stopped.
I have no explanation for this nonsense. Unlike the college and high school game, when officials are directed to stop play no matter where the ball is when a player is injured, the NBA dictates that play continue until the ball is dead–like after a made basket. Why the refs didn’t stop play is beyond me.
And then of course there is good ole J.R. Smith. There is no way he didn’t notice his teammate laying motionless on the court, but he didn’t care. Adrian Dantley could have called timeout, the Nuggets or even the Thunder could have fouled to stop play. No dice.
I’m surprised he didn’t go to his patented step-back jumper, stepping over Melo to create some space from the defense.
The end result of this bizarre scene: Anthony was taken to the locker room and given tests for a possible concussion. He returned to the game early in the fourth quarter and helped the Nuggs hold off the Thunder. Smith’s travel was nullified by the refs, who awarded the ball to the Nuggets in a strange ruling, perhaps purely out of sympathy.
I hope we never see this type of traveshamockery in an NBA game again.