The controversial play that wound up being a powder keg leading to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg’s ejection Saturday night was confirmed by the NBA.
Jimmy Butler’s contact on Clippers forward Blake Griffin that was called a foul by official Marc Davis with 20.8 seconds left in the Clippers’ 102-95 win at Staples Center was reviewed and subsequently deemed a correct call in the NBA’s two-minute report.
The NBA reviews every call in the last two minutes of close games for the sake of transparency, and although it appears there was minimal contact between Griffin and Butler as Griffin flailed and faded away on a desperation shot with the shot clock running down, it was enough to be deemed a foul.
After Griffin hit two free throws to make it a 99-95 Clippers lead and the Bulls missed on their next attempt to bring it closer, Bulls forward Taj Gibson and Hoiberg were tagged with technical fouls by Davis.
It was Hoiberg’s first ejection as a coach and he only tallied one technical foul last year, so the turn of events were surprising to say the least.
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As for the play, Butler didn’t believe he fouled Griffin although he didn’t want to say anything to get himself fined by the NBA for speaking out against officials.
Butler’s teammates were a little more critical of Davis’ behavior.
Dwyane Wade said Davis should’ve walked away from Hoiberg when Hoiberg began voicing his displeasure about the call, citing the emotional nature of things.
Gibson said Davis “bailed (Griffin) out” with the call and also stated he didn’t know why he picked up the technical foul because he didn’t say anything to Davis.
It’s worth noting Davis ejected Washington Wizards point guard John Wall from a game recently, claiming Wall cursed at him after a call although the NBA couldn’t find any evidence of profanity upon review.
Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo was suspended for bumping Davis in the final moments of a playoff game when Rondo was a member of the Boston Celtics in 2012, so Davis is seemingly no stranger to testy moments and exchanges.
In this case, the NBA, as it’s often wont to do, backed up their official, although the replays of Butler’s contact and Hoiberg’s reputation seem to say otherwise.