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Are Brooklyn’s close losses the result of a league-wide issue with ‘star’ calls?

Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Nobody is blaming the losses on late calls —maybe some of US are— but it’s become a reoccurring issue when Nets games come down to blatant no-calls.

The latest came on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. The Nets led by one with 7.8 seconds left when Spencer Dinwiddie was practically laid out by Paul George, which helped free up Russell Westbrook for the game-winning shot.

According to the NBA’s L2M report, released this evening, George made illegal contact with Dinwiddie that affected his ability to defend Westbrook. So, incorrect no call.

What does that mean?

Head coach Kenny Atkinson has refused to speak against the officiating in the previous games where this happened, but Tuesday was a different story. He didn’t say the word “refs” or “officiating” or anything like that, but he was very close.

“There was a collision between Paul George and Spencer [Dinwiddie]. That kind of turned Westbrook to the rim and we were a little late getting to him,” a somber Kenny Atkinson said about the last play in Brooklyn’s 109-108 loss to Oklahoma City.

Dinwiddie literally laughed it off at first, then said, “Hey look man, I stopped talking about stuff like that two weeks ago.”

Then, he decided to chime in with a football analogy.

“Actually, I got a great one for you. So, you know how in the NFL, they say receivers can’t cross and then hit the defender out of nowhere. I think it was a very similar situation to that. He just kind of ran and I was running after [Russell] Westbrook and then I just hit something. It is what it is. If I run him over, it’s probably a foul on me.”

However, the way he finished his answer was the most revealing, the most real thing that he’s probably said all season.

He said it. We were all thinking it.

“It’s like, that’s Russell Westbrook, and that’s Paul George… and I’m Spencer Dinwiddie.”

Dinwiddie’s voiced his thoughts on the officiating twice before this season - both in a respectful manner where the league didn’t think it was necessary to fine him.

It first started after a two-point loss to the Boston Celtics, where absolute mayhem took place on Brooklyn’s attempt to send the game to overtime. Dinwiddie went to the locker room and voiced is displeasure, citing how ‘The same type of respect’ isn’t reciprocated towards the Nets. That includes refs shushing him and other players, he explained.

Then it happened again in the following game. The Nets had the Raptors in a tightly contested overtime battle, down 114-113 in the finals seconds. After a few missed no-calls, shown in the L2M Report, Dinwiddie drove to hole and missed a wild layup. Nets lose, again.

Afterwards, he sat down on the court, looking depleted into the camera and said, “See this is what I’m talking about.”

The Nets aren’t blaming the refs for these losses because quite frankly, it isn’t their fault. It isn’t their fault the Nets blew a 15-point lead against OKC. It isn’t their fault the Nets miss layups or free throws or open 3-pointers. They’re simply answering the questions asked with sincere honesty —and frustration— without trying to antagonize the refs, a tough balance.

That being said, this has become a theme in tightly contested games. Whether you agree with it or not, the Nets have a point. And for Kenny Atkinson to mention it... you know something is wrong.