Do Celtics have a real gripe with officials? How NBA saw Game 3 calls originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If you're a Celtics fan, you probably think Boston got robbed late in Game 3 of its Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.
With less than five seconds remaining and the Celtics trailing by three Saturday at Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee's Jrue Holiday appeared to foul Celtics guard Marcus Smart as he went up for a 3-pointer. But the officials ruled Holiday's foul on the floor and gave two three throws to Smart, who had to intentionally miss the second as Boston fell just short in a 103-101 loss.
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka deemed the play a "poor no-call" and insisted Smart was fouled in the act of shooting.
"You can clearly see it on film," Udoka said. "He was curling into a shot and getting fouled on the way up. Bad missed call."
The NBA released its "Last Two Minute Report" for Saturday's game, however, and supported the officials' decision after video review. Here's the league's explanation:
"Holiday commits a foul by making contact with Smart's arms before he is bringing the ball upward toward the basket. A personal foul is correctly called."
Holiday did hit Smart's left arm while the ball was below his right hip, which perhaps is why the NBA ruled the foul on the floor. But it's hard not to watch the replay (especially in real time) and think Smart wasn't going up for a shot, especially considering the situation.
The NBA's L2M didn't give the officials a clean sheet, however, ruling that Milwaukee benefited from three missed calls in the final two minutes compared to Boston's one. The most impactful may have been a missed five-second violation on Holiday with 50 seconds remaining. Had that violation been called, the Celtics would have gotten possession up by one, but instead, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored on the ensuing Bucks possession to give his team the lead.
Then again, the officials also missed a three-second violation on Al Horford with about 20 seconds remaining that may have put the game out of reach for Boston.
As is usually the case, the officials giveth and taketh away, and no amount of hand-wringing will change the outcome of Game 3. So, the Celtics need to put Saturday's loss in their rearview and gear up for an essential must-win Monday night in Milwaukee as they aim to tie the series 2-2.
Note: Coverage for Game 4 begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston with Celtics Pregame Live.