But with correct officiating down the stretch, the actual game – a 99-94 Hawks win – might have generated more intrigue.
Atlanta got away with a shooting foul on one possession and scored two points on another that should’ve first ended in a turnover, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
Schroder (ATL) makes contact with Hield’s (NOP) arm that affects his driving shot attempt.
A correct call would’ve sent Hield – a 92% free-throw shooter – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only did New Orleans come up empty on the possession, the Hawks pushed the ball the other way as Hield remained down on the floor by the rim. Schroder hit a 3-pointer as the Pelicans’ defense remained scrambled.
Then, Atlanta should have turned the ball over with 20 seconds left when Paul Millsap tried to save a ball headed out of bounds:
Millsap’s (ATL) foot lands out of bounds before he releases the ball.
Millsap’s save went off Hield and out of bounds. So, instead of getting the ball back, New Orleans had to intentionally foul. Millsap made both free throws (though he also got hit for a strange technical foul after the Pelicans’ take foul, which gave New Orleans another point).
The Pelicans came within three points before having to continue intentionally fouling. Each of these missed calls were big swings in such a close game.