The extensive Last Two Minute Report from the frantic final moments of the Boston Celtics’ heart-stopping 104-103 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night revealed two missed calls, both of which went against Boston. However, the report stated that there were no issues with the foul that was called on Jimmy Butler with three seconds remaining.
The report, which was issued early on Sunday evening, said that officials missed two things out of the 32 that the league reviewed from the final 120 seconds of action: a lane violation by Heat forward Caleb Martin on a free throw Jaylen Brown missed with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter, and a foul on Jayson Tatum by Heat guard Gabe Vincent on a drive to the basket with 33.5 seconds left. After some time, Bam Adebayo got a block on Tatum, allowing Miami to regain possession of the ball.
In the end, though, there were no problems with the foul call that was made against Al Horford on Butler’s 3-point attempt with three seconds remaining. This play was the focus of most of the discussion in the aftermath of Boston’s victory.
In the beginning, referee Josh Tiven called a foul on Horford with 2.1 seconds left on the clock and decided it was a double-shot foul. In that scenario, the league would have been required to conduct an automatic play review to determine whether the foul would result in two or three shots being taken against the offending player.
However, because Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla contested the decision, the National Basketball Association could review the entire action, as stated by Monty McCutchen, the senior vice president of the NBA and head of referee development and training. Because the league noticed that one of Horford’s arms came over both of Butler’s arms, they decided to call a foul on Butler with three seconds left on the clock, which added nine-tenths of a second to the clock.
After Butler made all three free throws to give Miami a one-point lead, Boston needed every second of that time because Derrick White’s putback of Marcus Smart’s possible game-winning jumper was released with only a tenth of a second left on the clock. The basket led to an unexpected victory for the Celtics and extended the series to a seventh and deciding game on Memorial Day in Boston.
The other aspect of the Butler play that was up for question was whether or not he double-dribbled after losing possession of the ball. According to the report, he did not, and the explanation given for why was that Butler “fumbles the ball out of his control when he ends his dribble, then recovers it and legally attempts a field goal.”