Winning takes skill, talent and effort. It also takes a little luck.
The Boston Celtics clearly earned their 92-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night, which gave them a 3-2 lead in the first-round NBA playoff series. But they also benefited from a (non-) call in crunch time.
With 1:18 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Celtics leading by five, Al Horford launched a deep set shot that appeared to come after the 24-second shot clock had expired. The referees didn’t call the infraction, though, and Semi Ojeyele tipped Horford’s miss to Terry Rozier, who was fouled by Thon Maker to retain possession for Boston.
The officials actually conferred after the whistle, but to review Maker’s foul, not the potential shot clock violation. So, why didn’t the refs take another look at Horford’s shot? Turns out they couldn’t.
“The rule states that under two minutes we are not allowed to review a potential 24-second violation unless the ball goes in the basket,” head official Ken Mauer told a pool reporter after the game.
That means if Horford had made the shot, it likely would have been waved off, as the replay clearly shows a 24-second violation. Instead, his miss helped the C’s got another possession, and while they didn’t score, they were able to bleed the game clock down to under a minute.
The Bucks — particularly Eric Bledsoe — weren’t happy with the missed call after the game, and they seemingly have a case — the gaffe likely will show up as an incorrect call in the NBA’s “Last Two-Minute Report.”
Of course, that sequence alone didn’t sink Milwaukee: Khris Middleton missed a 3-pointer on the team’s next possession, and the Bucks gave up a layup to Horford on the other end that put Boston in front by seven.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images