By Tommy Matthews
The NBA has issued a report on game 6 of the Celtics-Heat series, in which Boston won on a last-second hoop by Derek White.
And it sounds like bullshit to us.
There were no issues with the foul call against Al Horford on Jimmy Butler’s 3-point attempt with three seconds remaining — the play at the center of much of the discussion in the aftermath of Boston’s win.
Originally, referee Josh Tiven called the foul on Horford with 2.1 seconds remaining and ruled it a two-shot foul. In that situation, the league automatically would review the play to see whether it was going to be a two- or three-shot foul.
But because Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla challenged the call, the NBA had the ability to look at the entire play, according to Monty McCutchen, the league’s senior vice president, head of referee development and training. The league saw that one of Horford’s arms came across Butler’s arms and fouled him with three seconds to go, thus adding nine-tenths of a second to the clock.
Boston needed every bit of that time after Butler hit all three free throws to give Miami a one-point lead, as Derrick White‘s putback of Marcus Smart‘s potential game-winning jumper was released with just a tenth of a second on the clock. The basket gave the Celtics a stunning win and forced the series to a seventh game in Boston on Memorial Day.
The other debate about the Butler play was over whether he double dribbled after losing the ball. The report said he did not, explaining that Butler “fumbles the ball out of his control when he ends his dribble, then recovers it and legally attempts a field goal.”
— Zak🔥🐬 (@ThaCreekFreak) May 28, 2023