The NBA's last-two-minute reports allow the league and its officials to admit to mistakes they make during the final moments of close games, though none of those admissions can ultimately change the outcomes.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has had a few whistles and non-calls hinder his team during its ongoing series against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals. While he appreciates the reasoning behind the report's existence, he's been around long enough to understand that once a call has been set in stone, there's nothing anyone can do to change it.
"You'd have to ask them exactly why they do it. It doesn't change anything," Popovich said Thursday prior to Game 6, according to ESPN's Michael Wright. "For the people involved, it's very frustrating because there's nothing you can do about it. So it's sort of an odd practice in that sense, but I think they just want to have transparency. So from their perspective it's a good thing so that people know they can admit errors, that's always a good thing, and people won't just guess about what's going on. So from their perspective it's a good thing and that's hard to argue with."
There were a staggering five incorrect no-calls made during the final 13.5 seconds of the Thunder's 98-97 Game 2 win, with one of the more blatant ones being OKC guard Dion Waiters' forearm shot to Manu Ginobili as he attempted to inbound the basketball.
The referees also didn't blow the whistle when Kawhi Leonard wrapped up Russell Westbrook on his drive to the basket late in Game 5. Westbrook picked up an and-1 on the play instead, putting the game out of reach for San Antonio.
Both possessions have certainly played a part in why the Spurs find themselves down 3-2 heading into Thursday's Game 6 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Nonetheless, Popovich knows officiating can't always be perfect, and that mistakes will be made from time to time.
"But it is frustrating when things happen like what happened in game two and the last game at the end. But again, officials aren't doing that on purpose," Popovich added. "They're going to miss things, it's a tough deal. I'm absolutely frustrated and angry that the calls weren't made. But it happens to everybody along the way. I've been in the business long enough, you end up on both sides of it, for sure. So you let it go so you can play the next game."