Game 2 between the Suns and Clippers was a wild one, with Phoenix seemingly in control throughout but never able to put significant separation between them and L.A., who hung around until they were able to take a late lead at 103-102 after a Phoenix turnover led to a Paul George layup on the other end.
While the end of the game was fraught with reviews and stoppages, it still managed to deliver one of the best finishes of the year as the Suns drew up an incredible game-winning lob play with under a second to go, with Jae Crowder making a perfect pass to Deandre Ayton, who was sprung loose by a screen from a bloodied and beat up Devin Booker. It was an outstanding play and the clock for some reason ran from 0.9 to 0.0, leading to the buzzer sounding and pandemonium on the court. Ayton and the Suns weren’t sure whether to fully celebrate, Clippers players were dumbfounded and confused, not knowing the rules in that situation that mean there can’t be basket interference on an inbounds pass, and in the midst of it all, Booker caught a shove from a frustrated DeMarcus Cousins that went unnoticed on the floor by the referees.
On Wednesday, the league went back to the video and saw that Cousins had indeed shoved Booker to the point of earning some sort of penalty, assessing him a postgame technical foul.
DeMarcus Cousins (LAC) has been assessed a postgame technical foul upon league review for actions at the conclusion of the game on 6/22/21. pic.twitter.com/VrS2MU8ZS3
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) June 23, 2021
It is a decision that won’t impact much of anything beyond Cousins paying the standard fine for a technical foul. It’s the right decision by the refs, but for Cousins and the Clippers it could’ve been disastrous in the moment. Had the play somehow not counted (which L.A. players believed could be the case in the momnet), time been put back on the clock as it was, and they called that on the floor as they should’ve, Booker would’ve had a free throw to tie the game — and he should’ve had a free throw to put Phoenix up two rather than just one.