John Wall had his heroic moment, draining a deep three — so deep his defender Avery Bradley was outside the arc and Wall still got the shot off cleanly — that would prove to be the game-winner and force a Game 7.
But the Celtics had one more chance with 3.5 seconds left — and the timekeeper seems to have robbed them of a second, something the officials missed.
After Wall’s make the Celtics called a timeout to advance the ball and allow Brad Stevens to draw up a sideline out-of-bounds play. He put together a good one. Most fans eyes were drawn to Isaiah Thomas far in the backcourt, starting a run full speed into the front court and getting an Avery Bradley screen, but the action the Celtics wanted to work was under the basket. Boston’s Jae Crowder ran along the baseline toward inbounder Al Horford and got a screen from Kelly Olynyk, which the Wizards switched (late in games like this all teams switch virtually every pick). That left Kelly Oubre on Olynyk, a size and strength advantage for Boston. Horford tried to inbound the ball deep to Olynyk, who was trying to seal off his man Oubre, so Oubre fouled him. It was the Wizards foul to give (it did not put Boston in the penalty).
But watch the video of that play — the official calls the foul with what looks to me like 2.7 seconds left, but the clock runs another full second before it stops.
There is going to be some time run off, it’s human error, but a full second?
What’s odd is the officials did not confer, check with replay officials, or do anything to make sure the time was right. That left Boston just 1.7 seconds to get off their own game-winning attempt. A deep Thomas three missed. Ballgame.
Would that extra second have made a difference? We’ll never know, but it looks to me like Boston should have had a chance to let something better develop.
We will see what the league’s two-minute report on officiating says.