Tim Duncan's block at the buzzer on Friday changed the face of the Western Conference playoffs. The block resulted in the Spurs' tenth-straight win, catapulting San Antonio into the No. 3 seed in the West. While the Rockets fell all the way down to No. 6 seed with their second-straight loss to the Spurs in three nights.
Looking at the play, Harden drove past Kawhi Leonard and headed to the basketball with only Tim Duncan in the way. Harden attempted to work his way around the Spurs power forward. Duncan got a piece of the ball and a large part of Harden's arm. No foul call was made, and the time ran out.
With any play at the buzzer, there was controversy. Especially with the aggressive Harden going to the basket. Today the NBA announced that the play was called correctly by their officials:
NBA rules Duncan block on Harden drive to close Friday's game a good no call. Ruled contact incidental.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 11, 2015
NBA ruling: "There is contact after blocked shot. Because the shot is already blocked, contact is incidental and deemed to have no impact."— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 11, 2015
Rubbing salt into the wound, the NBA also stated the play that gave the Rockets the ball with 6 seconds left should have been a foul on Harden:
NBA also ruled should have been a foul called on Harden before Ginobili's turnover with 6.1 left.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 11, 2015
I'm not sure another "apology" from the NBA would have taken the sting out of Friday's loss. The Rockets are still in the No. 6 seed and likely to play the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Better to just move on.