NBA admits error at end of Raptors game

Charlotte Bobcats small forwards Jeffery Taylor (left) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist celebrate after...

Charlotte Bobcats small forwards Jeffery Taylor (left) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist celebrate after beating the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 21, 2012. However, the NBA later admitted that its officials missed a Charlotte foul on the final play. (CHRIS KEANE/Reuters)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

CHARLOTTE - Too little, too late.

The NBA admitted on Thursday to missing a foul on the decisive play of Toronto's loss to the Bobcats a day earlier.

"On the final possession of Charlotte's 98-97 win over Toronto on Nov. 21, the game officials missed a foul by Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist against Toronto's Andrea Bargnani on a jump shot. Bargnani should have been given two free throws and the clock stopped with approximately 2.4 seconds remaining in the game," read the missive at NBA.com.

Credit the league for admitting the error, but it won't do much for the Raptors.

The ninth loss of the season (against three victories) stays on the books and the disappointment remains.

The team, citing league rules, declined to comment on the explanation.

What was there to say? The team already knew referee Ed Malloy -- standing close to the play -- blew the call.

Bargnani was all but heading to the line after getting smacked by Kidd-Gilchrist. Jonas Valanciunas made it clear afterwards -- albeit in a politically correct way -- that he wasn't OK with a borderline foul being called on him late (fouling him out and sending Kemba Walker to the line) at one end, when a far more obvious one was ignored at the other end.

Dwane Casey nearly let out his frustration, but bit his tongue.

This isn't the first time the Raptors sent tape in to the league. This isn't the first time, according to multiple sources, that the league admitted it got something wrong involving the Raptors this year.

But what can you do? The officials aren't perfect and they are far from the only reason Toronto is losing close games.

The team hasn't found a closer yet. Someone to take control and hit tough shots. Kyle Lowry might be that guy, but he is also so supremely confident that he often makes bad decisions late -- either dribbling into the opposition or hoisting up bad shots (like the one that hit only backboard, just before Walker's and-one play).

DeMar DeRozan doesn't get the calls to be the guy either and Bargnani consistently has proven that he shouldn't be the last-second guy (he has missed shots and had others legitimately blocked in the past).

Toronto's late-game defence, generally, has not been good enough. Opponents aren't being closed out on quickly enough and are pulling in too many offensive rebounds.

But there has been some improvement and nobody is packing it in, despite all of the late, soul-sucking losses.

"It's tough but it's just preparing us for the long run. We have a lot of games left," said rookie Terrence Ross.

"We just have to stay mentally tough to turn this around. There are things we have to tighten up and fix."

Casey says he wants the group to stay positive, which is a challenge, since it is one of the youngest in the East.

Jonas Valanciunas termed it the toughest loss yet.

Lowry said he will talk to his young mates and reinforce that there are plenty of games left to fight for.

It doesn't appear likely that the club will stop competing, or quit clawing away, despite the results.

Toronto's three wins each came at the end of back-to-backs and the Raptors could have taken two other games that completed back-to-backs (Wednesday's in Charlotte and an earlier one against Indiana).

That's a good sign. Usually teams perform poorly on little rest.

Still, in the grand scheme, victories are all that matter in professional sports. Good efforts and unjust finishes don't mean much.

This team must find a way to start winning some games.


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