NBA: Two officiating errors late in fourth quarter favored Hawks over Cavaliers
LeBron James complained about three calls in the Cavaliers’ 126-125 overtime loss to the Hawks on Sunday: a five-second violation, failure to get a timeout and his sixth foul.
The NBA didn’t rule on his timeout request, but the Last Two Minute Report said the referees correctly ruled on the five-second violation and LeBron’s sixth foul.
However, the two-minute report also noted two officiating errors late in the fourth quarter – both favoring Atlanta.
Kent Bazemore got away with committing a shooting foul on Kyrie Irving with 31.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter:
A correct call would’ve given Irving, who’s making 91% of his free throws this season and 87% for his career, two attempts from the line.
Instead, Irving missed and the Hawks secured the defensive rebound.
The Hawks forced a held ball with 4.9 seconds left in overtime, but a second earlier, Bazemore and Paul Millsap should have been whistled for touching the ball while out of bounds:
A correct call would’ve given the Cavs the ball on a throw-in – exactly what LeBron wanted when he tried to call timeout.
Instead, the Hawks won the ensuing jump ball and scored off it to force overtime.
Fix either call, and Cleveland probably wins in regulation.
And if the Cavs win in regulation, they probably play LeBron and Irving last night. If they play LeBron and Irving last night, they probably beat the Heat. If they beat the Heat, they’d probably play their top players tomorrow. If they play their top players tomorrow, they probably beat the Raptors.
There are a lot of variables the further removed we get from these two missed calls, but it’s not a major leap to say these officiating errors cost the Cavaliers the No. 1 seed.