The Miami Heat‘s season came to an end following a heartbreaking 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, May 29. While Heat star Jimmy Butler put up another outstanding performance, scoring 35 points with nine rebounds, his missed three at the end of the fourth quarter put the nail in the coffin for Miami.
However, the final minute of Game 7 might’ve played out differently if the referees didn’t retroactively overturn Heat guard Max Strus’ stellar three-pointer in the third quarter, which was one of the most shocking and bizarre moments of the high-stakes matchup.
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With the Heat down just two points, Butler went for a three-pointer that unfortunately, didn’t go in. But if Strus’ basket from beyond the arc counted, the six-time All-Star likely wouldn’t have gone for such a gutsy, risky basket. And the Heat could’ve punched their ticket to the NBA Finals, not the Celtics.
NBA Analysts Slammed the Refs for the Late Overturned Call
With 11:04 left in the third quarter, Strus made a beautiful three-pointer. However, nearly four minutes later, with 8:28 left in the third quarter, while Celtics’ big man Al Horford was shooting free throw shots, the refs took it away, claiming that Strus stepped out of bounds.
Immediately following the reversed call, NBA analysts and fans shared slo-mo videos and screenshots of Strus’ heel before he took his shot, all of which appear to clearly show that his heel never went out of bounds. Skip Bayless tweeted, “It sure looked like Strus’ heel never touched the out-of-bounds line
The Athletic’s senior NBA reporter John Hollinger tweeted, Can you challenge a retroactive replay overturn? Asking for a friend.”
The Associated Press NBA reporter Tim Reynolds shared a zoomed-in closeup of Strus’ heel and doubted the refs’ call. “Maybe they have a different angle, but can you conclusively say Strus’ heel hits the line? Secaucus did, and three points came off the board,” Reynolds tweeted.
Fox Sports 1 reporter Nick Wright tweeted, “If you’re going to retroactively, mid game go back and take away 3 points from a team, I’d want to be 100% sure the guy actually did step out of bounds, but that’s just me.”
Heat’s Head Coach Erik Spoelstra Said He’s ‘Not Crying’ Over the Overturned Call
During the postgame conference, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra commented on the late call that overturned Strus’ three-pointer. “I’m sure they’re gonna look at that, and we will be the case study for that,” Spoelstra said, as tweeted by Five Reasons Sports Network.
“I’m not crying or whining. Come on. We got beat,” Spoelstra concluded.