NBA: That Was a Foul

ESPN's Marc Stein reports:

The league office on Wednesday reviewed the final play of the San Antonio Spurs' 93-91 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and acknowledged that a two-shot foul should have been called on Derek Fisher for impeding Brent Barry.

After falling behind by seven points in the final minute, San Antonio sliced the deficit to two and regained possession with 2.1 seconds to play.

Barry then wound up with the ball in the center of the floor on a play called for Manu Ginobili and faked Fisher in the air but struggled to get off a 3-point heave at the buzzer after Fisher came down and bumped Barry.

"With the benefit of instant replay, it appears a foul call should have been made," league spokesman Tim Frank said Wednesday.

This makes me so happy for two reasons. The first is petty and personal: The League's admission will help me a lot in the 45 or so simultaneous e-mail arguments I have had going with various Laker fans ever since I wrote last night that I was sure that was a foul.

Much more importantly, to me the League's admission is nice confirmation that the truth, and credibility, matter in the NBA. The thing that really upset me about the whole event was how it hurt the league's credibility at a time when there is more than usual evidence (Tim Donaghy! Others, perhaps! Joey Crawford!) that there could be bias at play in how games are called. This doesn't fix that bad call, but it at least keeps the League's public message anchored in reality.