The refs plain botched this. Chinese commentators during the game — one of whom was Yao Ming — speculated that maybe none of the three refs on the court — all of them staring at the play — could believe Serge Ibaka could actually do this — jump, bounce the ball, come down with it, then shoot — and were too stunned to blow the whistle. In any case, play went on, everyone continued to remain shocked, and even Ibaka smiled, like, Well damn, that’s why I don’t play a non-refereed sport like Ultimate Frisbee.
What made this call worse was the timing. You’ll notice the score: it was only a seven-point game in the fourth quarter. China had just made an inspired run at the end of the third to cut a significant deficit down to seven, and Yi Jianlian (who wound up 30 points and 12 rebounds) was on the floor, and a stop here might have extended the run for another minute or two.
We’re not saying China would have beaten Spain if this call had been made. We’re just saying you probably won’t encounter a worse blown call at this level of basketball competition.
(Gif via Weibo) P.S. In case you were wondering, no makeup call followed.