Boston are one game away from making NBA history as the first team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs but the NBA officials almost crushed their hopes in Game 6 on Saturday.
The game ended with a putback by Celtics guard Derrick White, after a missed Marcus Smart jumper.
White let go of the ball with 0.1 seconds left, leading Miami fans to think it was too late and that they had won. But upon review, he got it up in time and won the Celtics the game 104-103.
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report details two missed non-calls in favor of the Heat.
The first was a lane violation a by Heat forward Caleb Martin on a free throw Jaylen Brown missed with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“Martin (MIA) steps into the lane prior to Brown (BOS) releasing his free throw attempt, preventing White (BOS) from getting into position to rebound,” the report said.
The second happened when the away team were up by one and Jayson Tatum missed his shot attempt on a drive against Gabe Vincent.
“Vincent (MIA) moves laterally and turns into Tatum’s (BOS) path after his gather, initiating body contact that affects Tatum’s driving shot attempt,” the report read.
The foul call against Al Horford on Jimmy Butler, which generated the most discussion, had no issues according to the report.
Butler attempted a three-pointer with three seconds remaining and in real time, the official called the foul on Horford with 2.1 seconds remaining and called it a two-shot foul.
Boston coach Joe Mazzulla challenged the call, so the officials then looked at the entire play.
They saw that Horford’s arm went across Butler’s arms and fouled him with three seconds to go, which added nine-tenths of a second to the clock, giving White extra time in the clutch to win it.
The other thing that was causing a stir was whether Butler double dribbled on the play.
The NBA’s Last Two-Minute Report states that Jimmy Butler did NOT double dribble on this sequence…
“Butler fumbles the ball out of his control when he ends his dribble, then recovers it and legally attempts a field goal.”
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 28, 2023
The report says he didn’t, explaining Butler “fumbles the ball out of his control when he ends his dribble, then recovers it and legally attempts a field goal.”
The Celtics ended up winning, so the no foul calls in Heat’s favor didn’t end up meaning much.
But with the controversy surrounding the NBA officials at the moment, they will want to strive to be correct in Game 7.