By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Welp. This one’s not going to help much.
The NBA released its Last Two Minute Report on Thursday, a day after the Celtics and Raptors went to battle in a double-overtime marathon in Game 6 of their second round playoff series. That was a game that left Celtics fans feeling rather frustrated after the Raptors won 125-122.
Now, they’re sure to be slightly more frustrated.
The report declared that when Kemba Walker drove to the basket to attempt a go-ahead layup in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, he was indeed fouled on the arm by OG Anunoby.
The refs on the floor did not call a foul, despite Walker’s protest. The Raptors then missed their game-winning attempt, thus sending the game to overtime.
Obviously, if Walker and his 90.2 playoff free throw percentage headed to the line with 4 seconds left in the game, that may have been a different story, and the Celtics may be getting ready for the Eastern Conference finals right now instead of a Game 7 vs. Toronto.
Walker, an NBA veteran who knows what can and cannot be said for free during postgame media availabilities, said all that needed to be said in very few words about that particular sequence.
“I just missed a layup, I guess,” Walker said.
The missed foul on Anunoby wasn’t the only official miss for the refs on the report, either. The report stated that Norman Powell should have been called for a traveling violation when he drove to the basket with 1:33 remaining in the first overtime period.
The travel wasn’t called, and instead a foul was called on Walker. Powell went to the line and hit both free throws to put Toronto up by two. The two teams were of course tied at the end of overtime, thus sending them into double-OT.
One more significant note from the report: the league ruled that despite Nick Nurse essentially standing on the court, the Toronto head coach violated no rules in doing so.
“Coaches may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline,” the report stated. “Coach Nurse’s presence in the corner is not illegal and he does not directly interfere with the play.”
While the latter two are interesting, it’s really the missed call at the end of regulation that figures to sting the sharpest for the Celtics, as sending Kemba to the line in the final seconds would almost assuredly have sent the Celtics on to the conference finals. (That’s assuming they were slightly better prepared for a final play from Toronto, of course.)
As always with the Last Two Minute Report, you can’t help but wonder … what’s the point? On the one hand, the league is being accountable for its bad officiating, which is a good thing. The world needs more accountability.
On the other hand, pointing out a missed call that changed a game and, perhaps, an entire series does very little if anything to make the aggrieved party feel any better about their current state of reality.