NBA Makes Final Call on Celtics Game 3 Complaint

Robert Williams III, Al Horford, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Getty Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives on Robert Williams III (44) and Al Horford (42)

Whenever a playoff game comes down to a controversial call made by the referees in the last seconds of the game, fans eagerly anticipate when the league publishes its last two-minute report the next day. Many Boston Celtics fans believe that Jrue Holiday fouled Marcus Smart in a shooting motion behind the three-point line with 4.6 seconds left in Game 3, but the refs called it on the floor. This resulted in two free throws for Smart while the Celtics were down three, badly hurting their chances of tying the game knowing how little time was left.

Many believe this call was not only incorrect but ultimately decided the game. Head Coach Ime Udoka and Smart questioned the call themselves following the game’s conclusion. Hence, many were looking forward to Game 3’s last two-minute report the day afterward. On May 8, the league released the report. While the report said the referees missed five calls overall in that timespan, Holiday’s foul on Smart was not one of them.

On that specific call, the report stated the following: “Holiday (MIL) commits a foul by making contact with Smart’s (BOS) arms before he is bringing the ball upward toward the basket. A personal foul is correctly called.”

This will probably upset a few Celtics fans, but even if the league went in the opposite direction, that wouldn’t change anything besides validate their beliefs.

Last Two-Minute Report Confirmed Crucial Missed Call Favoring Bucks

Celtics fans may not have gotten confirmation from the league on Holiday’s foul like they would have wanted, but the report revealed there was a missed call at the end of the game that could have helped the Celtics immensely.

The league confirmed that Jrue Holiday should have been called for a five-second violation for failing to inbound the ball with 50 seconds left. Because it wasn’t called, Holiday got it into Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was quick to score the go-ahead bucket to put the Bucks up 101-100 with less than 45 seconds to go.

Had the call been made, it would have been Celtics ball with the lead, which they could have used to burn clock and potentially make the lead much harder for the Bucks to overcome.

That will probably frustrate the Celtics knowing how big of a swing that play was. However, the report also confirmed that the refs made two incorrect no-calls that favored the Celtics on the Bucks final possession, which include that Al Horford should have been called for defensive three seconds beforehand, and that Jayson Tatum fouled Holiday before Holiday made his turnaround jumper that put the Bucks up 103-100.

Viewers React to Game 3’s Last Two-Minute Report

There was going to be a strong reaction to the Last Two-Minute Report no matter what the league said. Since the league confirmed that Holiday’s foul on Smart on the floor was correct, there was inevitably going to be naysayers.

Others provided a more balanced response, but still criticized the league for missing multiple calls at most the crucial point of the game, like Keith Smith.

The reality is, questionable refereeing comes with the territory with not just the NBA but with all of professional sports. No official in the history of professional sports has ever gotten it right every single time. Viewers saw this in Game 4 between the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks on May 8.

Chris Paul only played 23 minutes in Phoenix’s loss to Dallas because of foul trouble. Many believe some of the fouls called on him were suspect at best, including his sixth.

Ime Udoka said it best when it comes to bad calls following the Celtics loss to the Bucks in Game 3: Boston has to play through it, plain and simple.

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