Following Friday’s emotional loss to the Utah Jazz, the Trail Blazers took care of business against the Heat Sunday night without a real big controversial play or no-call.
Portland beat Miami, 115-109 which was good for the Blazers fifth consecutive victory at Moda Center; extending their longest winning streak at home this season.
Was there any carryover from Friday’s game?
But, if there was it was all positive for Damian Lillard, who finished with 33 points and eight assists. He has now scored at least 20 points in 19 straight games. That matches the longest streak of NBA career.
Lillard was also discussed in the NBA Pool Report with Sunday night’s officials, yet again.
Friday night in Salt Lake City, NBA Crew Chief Josh Tiven was asked about the non-goaltending call that occurred with 13.5 seconds remaining in the game.
To which Tiven replied:
“The call needs to be made for a goaltending to be reviewable. We’ve since looked at it, via postgame video review, and unfortunately saw that we missed the play, and a goaltending violation should have been called.”
Sunday night it was a third quarter play that was asked about involving Lillard.
Pool Reporter ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton wanted to get clarification on Blazers head coach Terry Stotts’ challenge at the 0.9 mark of the third.
The question was aimed at the coach's challenge and why Goran Dragic’s leg kick on his three-point attempt was a loose ball foul instead of an offensive foul.
Question: Why was Terry Stotts’ challenge of the shooting foul on Damian Lillard at the 0:00.9 mark of the third quarter successful?
NBA Crew Chief Ed Malloy’s response: “After replay review, we saw that Damian Lillard got to the basketball – it was a legal block. While Lillard was going to jump to the side of Goran Dragic, Dragic extended his right leg, initiating the contact with Lillard. That is why it was successful.”
Second Question: Why was the play ruled a loose-ball foul rather than an offensive foul?
Malloy: “By rule, when the defense deflects the ball the status of the ball becomes loose. After the clean block by Lillard, the ball was loose. Then, Dragic extended his right leg, causing the illegal contact with Lillard. Therefore, it was a loose-ball foul.”
The coach's challenge was somewhat controversial in its implementation, and this is the first time this season the Blazers have been involved in a situation where officials were forced to explain their rationale on a play where a coach's challenge was initiated.
Overall, it was a successful challenge for Lillard and the Blazers.
It turned out to be a six-point swing, which was also the difference in the game.