NBA says no issues with foul on Butler or review


BOSTON — The extensive Last Two Minute report from the chaotic final moments of the Boston Celtics‘ heart-stopping 104-103 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night revealed two missed calls — both of which went against Boston — while saying there were no issues with the foul on Jimmy Butler with three seconds remaining.

The report, which was issued early Sunday evening, said that the officials missed two things among the 32 the league reviewed from the final 120 seconds of game action: a missed lane violation by Heat forward Caleb Martin on a free throw Brown missed with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter and a foul on Jayson Tatum by Heat guard Gabe Vincent on a drive to the basket with 33.5 seconds remaining. The play eventually ended with Tatum being blocked by Bam Adebayo and Miami getting the ball back.

Ultimately, though, there were no issues with the foul call against Al Horford on Butler’s 3-point attempt with 3 seconds remaining — the play at the center of much of the discussion in the aftermath of Boston’s thrilling win.

Originally, referee Josh Tiven called the foul on Horford with 2.1 seconds remaining and ruled it a two-shot foul.. In that situation, the league automatically would have reviewed the play to see whether it was going to be a two-shot or three-shot foul.

However, because Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla challenged the call, that gave the NBA the ability to look at the entire play, according to Monty McCutchen, the NBA’s Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training. After the challenge was issued, the league reviewed the film and saw that Horford’s arm came across Butler’s arms and fouled him with three seconds to go — thus adding an additional nine-tenths of a second to the clock.

Boston needed every bit of that time as after Butler hit all three free throws to give Miami a one-point lead, Derrick White‘s putback of Marcus Smart‘s potential game-winning jumper was released with just a tenth of a second showing on the clock. The basket gave the Celtics a stunning win and forced this series to a seventh game in Boston on Memorial Day.

The other debate about the Butler play was over whether he double-dribbled after losing the ball. The report said that Butler did not, with the explanation being that Butler “fumbles the ball out of his control when he ends his dribble, then recovers it and legally attempts a field goal.”

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