There are times when referees make crucial calls in games that could mean the difference between winning and losing. Yet in Monday’s 107-103 victory for the Toronto Raptors over the Miami Heat, there was one call that could have swung momentum around and favored the defending NBA champs.
According to referee David Guthrie admitted to a mistake on a crucial call in the fourth quarter. The play in question came off a flagrant foul assessed to forward Kelly Olynyk with 6:56 remaining in the game.
That call switched things around slightly as Toronto would not relinquish the lead after in what turned up being a four-point swing.
The Crucial Call
Guthrie explained why he may have made the wrong call after reviewing the play following the game.
Guthrie, who was the crew chief for game, mentioned to a reporter after the game that in his appreciation of the play in real time, he felt that Olynyk was too aggressive when he swiped at Toronto’s Kyle Lowry. Yet it was referee Tre Maddox, who called the foul.
Lowry fell to the court on the play, which was reviewed. After watching the replay, Guthrie and the rest of the refereeing crew determined that it met criteria for a flagrant foul 1. The call Lowry was awarded two free throws and Toronto kept possession after those.
The Post-Game Reaction
. . . referee David Guthrie: "After reviewing that more postgame, and thinking about it a little bit more, to me, it now is more of a natural basketball play going for the ball and that the contact really did not rise to the criteria of a flagrant foul." https://t.co/tUEPVUPKO3
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) August 3, 2020
The call on Olynyk clearly gave Toronto momentum and forced Miami to play from behind during that final stretch. After that play, the Raptors would never relinquish the lead.
“After reviewing that more postgame, and thinking about it a little bit more, to me, it now is more of a natural basketball play going for the ball and that the contact really did not rise to the criteria of a flagrant foul,” added Guthrie.
It also could have a major effect on where the Heat land in the Eastern Conference come the postseason. One can look at one specific play and say it made a difference in this game, but that would be unfair. Fred Van Vleet had a career night in terms of scoring contributing with 36 points, 21 came from seven three pointers.
Raptors- Heat Highlights
Meanwhile, Miami struggled in their perimeter shooting as they went 14-for-45. Goran Dragic led the Heat in scoring with 25 points while Jimmy Butler scored 16 and Bam Adebayo added 10. Olynyk also contributed with 17 points.
The Heat (42-25) currently hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and while they may not be able to catch the second-seeded Raptors, a win on Monday would’ve helped them make up some ground on the Boston Celtics. More importantly, it would have kept the Indiana Pacers at as they are a game behind in that fight for one of the top seeds.
Boston, the No. 3 seed, is currently 44-22, but it now holds a two-and-a-half game lead over the Heat, with Miami having just six games left in the regular season.
The Raptors (48-18) will now face Magic on Wednesday.