For the second-straight game and third time this season, the NBA refs admitted that they made a ridiculous mistake.
Before Donovan Mitchell went on to score 13 of the Cavs’ final 15 points in OT to amass a historic 71 points, he made a game-tying bucket that should have never counted. The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report officially declared that Mitchell committed a lane violation on his purposefully-missed free throw with 3.0 seconds left in regulation.
In other words, Mitchell crossed the free-throw line *well* before the ball hit the rim. And I don’t think anyone can question this made it that much easier for him to snatch the offensive rebound and convert the pivotal layup.
What makes this news that much worse is that it felt blatant at the time. Moments after Mitchell knocked down the shot, screengrabs of his body well over the charity stripe began to surface.
Head coach Billy Donovan also didn’t hesitate to point out the missed call in his postgame press conference.
“To be honest with you, it was hard to watch at times,” Donovan said. “Some of the consistency on the fouls … when our guys are getting fouled, I’m going to try to fight for them. I think the free throws were a huge huge factor in the game. Listen, it’s been two games in a row. Obviously, DeMar got fouled the other night against them and I think the two-minute report will come out and say he crossed the line.”
Guess what? This also isn’t the only incorrect call the refs made in the final seconds of regulation. According to the L2M, big man Jarrett Allen traveled with 12.1 seconds left before he went on to sink a hook shot that brought the Cavs within 1.
Yup, that’s right. Only two incorrect calls were made in the final two minutes of regulation and in OT … both were in favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
I also don’t have to remind you that this happened just one game after the refs admitted that DeMar DeRozan should have been gifted two free throws on his game-winning attempt. So this is now the THIRD time this season that the league had to walk back pivotal calls made in the final seconds of a Bulls loss (the third occurred during the second game of the year when DeRozan was supposed to be awarded free throws on high game-winning 3-point attempt).
Is it possible the Bulls still don’t win those games? Sure. But it’s much more likely that they do, and three more wins added to their record right now would put them right in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
I know … infuriating.