Dan Feldman

Referee Mike Callahan (24) points as Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts to a charging call against him, as Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley (1) is helped off the floor by center Nene (42), from Brazil, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 25, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

NBA: John Wall should’ve drawn two more fouls in final minute of regulation in Wizards’ 2OT loss to Timberwolves

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The Wizards – 2.5 games and two teams out – are hanging on for dear life in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The officials did Washington no favors in its double-overtime loss to the Timberwolves on Friday.

John Wall should’ve drawn two more fouls in the final minute of regulation, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

The big one came with 4.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when Gorgui Dieng got away with a shooting foul. NBA:

Dieng (MIN) makes contact with Wall’s (WAS) body that affects his drive to the basket and shot attempt

A correct call would’ve sent Wall – a 79% free-throw shooter – to the line for two attempts in a tie game. I like Washington’s odds in that situation.

The Wizards should’ve been better positioned at that point, anyway.

Seconds before Washington committed a shot-clock violation, Zach LaVine got away with fouling Wall. NBA on the non-call with 43.7 seconds left:

LaVine (MIN) makes contact with Wall (WAS) that causes him to lose control of the ball

The Timberwolves were in the penalty, so Wall would’ve gotten two free throws – a big swing to the turnover that occurred in reality.

The overtimes featured 12 missed calls. The eight of consequence:

Favoring the Wizards:

  • Marcin Gortat got away with an offensive foul before Nene scored.
  • Gortat got away with a loose-ball foul while grabbing an offensive rebound that led to a Bradley Beal basket. Washington was not in the penalty.
  • Nene got away with an illegal screen that would’ve given the Timberwolves an extra possession in the first overtime – 4.4 seconds with the game tied.
  • Nene got away with fouling Andrew Wiggins during a successful Wiggins putback
  • Wall got away with fouling Karl-Anthony Towns on a made layup

Favoring the Timberwolves:

  • Andrew Wiggins got away with a defensive three-second violation and then used his position in the paint to help force a turnover
  • Karl-Anthony Towns got away with an illegal screen before popping and making a jumper.
  • Zach LaVine got away with travelling before hitting a 3-pointer.

Weigh those how you will. But if officials had made all the calls in the Last Two Minute Report correctly, it’s hard to see the game reaching overtime in the first place.

NBA: Three key officiating errors in final minute helped Clippers over Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick, right, shoots a buzzer-beater as Portland Trail Blazers center Ed Davis (17), guard C.J. McCollum (3) and center Mason Plumlee (24) defend at the end of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 24, 2016. The Clippers won 96-94. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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In the four-team fight between the Trail Blazers, Jazz, Rockets and Mavericks for the West’s final three playoff spots, Portland has emerged as the unlikely favorite to reach the postseason. The Trail Blazers are sixth in the conference – 2.5 games inside playoff position.

Imagine where they’d be if officials correctly called the end of their 96-94 loss to the Clippers – capped by J.J. Redick‘s buzzer beater – Thursday.

The Clippers scored five points in the final minute after uncalled DeAndre Jordan offensive fouls and Austin Rivers got away with a foul on Portland’s final possession, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

With 45.1 second left, Jordan illegally screened Damian Lillard to spring Chris Paul‘s drive. NBA:

Jordan (LAC) extends his arms into Lillard’s (POR) back affecting his ability to defend.

Paul drew a foul and hit both free throws to tie the game.

With 18.4 seconds left, Jordan set another uncalled illegal screen, this one on C.J. McCollum. NBA:

Jordan (LAC) extend his arm as he sets the screen on McCollum (POR) without giving him room to avoid the contact.

Jamal Crawford finished that possession with the game-tying 3-pointer.

Finally, Rivers got away with a loose-ball foul on McCollum with 2.4 seconds left after the Trail Blazers missed their last shot. NBA:

Rivers (LAC) makes contact with McCollum (POR) that affects his rebound attempt.

The Clippers were in the penalty, so a correct call would’ve sent McCollum – who’s making 83% of his free throws this season – to the line for two attempts in a tie game. Instead, the Clippers got the ball, and Redick did his thing.

Both teams got away with a defensive three-second violation in the final two minutes – the Clippers with 1:47 left, the Trail Blazers with 1:04 left. It’s safe to call those a wash.

Fix any of the three decisive missed calls in the final two minutes, and Portland probably would have been looking at a regulation win at best or overtime at worst. Fix all three, and the Trail Blazers likely win walking away.

In a tight playoff race, this was a pretty consequential set of officiating errors.

Nuggets sign Axel Toupane to multiyear contract

at Pepsi Center on March 6, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 116-114 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets have agreed to a multiyear deal with Axel Toupane after seeing enough of the forward through a pair of 10-day contracts.

Toupane (pronounced tu-PON) is averaging 3.0 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11 appearances for the Nuggets this season. Before joining Denver, the 23-year-old native of France suited up in 32 games for the Toronto 905 of the NBA D-League, where he averaged 14.6 point and 5.6 rebounds.

The 6-foot-7, 210-pound Toupane played in the French Pro National Basketball League A from 2011 to 2015.

Pelicans sign Jordan Hamilton to 10-day contract

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15:  Jordan Hamilton #1 of the Denver Nuggets controls the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center on November 15, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Timberwolves 117-113. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The injury-decimated New Orleans Pelicans have received a hardship exemption from the NBA allowing them to increase their roster to 17 players and have signed forward Jordan Hamilton to a 10-day contract.

The 6-foot-7 Hamilton last played in the NBA Development League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 14.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 14 games.

Hamilton is a former Texas Longhorns standout who was drafted 26th overall by Dallas in 2011.

Hamilton has played in the NBA in stints with Denver, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers.

He has averaged 5.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in 12.8 minutes in 140 career NBA games.

Five Pelicans players, including All-Star forward Antony Davis, have had season-ending injuries. Three others have missed recent games with injuries sidelining them day-to-day.

Report: Dwight Howard interested in signing with Magic

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic argues a call during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Dwight Howard, who will surely opt out and become a free agent this summer, is sending an transparent message to NBA teams:

If you pay me, I will come.

Howard is also apparently making targeted pitches – first to the Knicks and now the Magic.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

League sources tell me that the Magic have heard through back channels that Howard would entertain a return to the Magic Kingdom. Make no mistake, his first choice is to return to the Houston Rockets. But if Houston is not on board with that, Howard is exploring his options, and Orlando is on the list.

On one hand, the Magic could use a rim protector like Howard. On the other hand, his exit from Orlando got messy.

Howard, 30, is too old to fit with the rest of the Magic’s young roster. But they’ve been trying to fast-track their rebuilding for a couple years. They’re also reportedly interested in similarly aged Al Horford. Either big could help the team reach the playoffs.

The key question? Would Orlando pay Howard what he wants? He’s clearly seeking one last high-paying long-term contract. He’d take one from the Rockets, Knicks, Magic or just about anyone offering.

Howard’s age, health issues and style of play will give teams pause about paying him for the next four to five years. But he’s still productive, and if recent years are a guide, will ramp it up in the postseason (if Houston makes it).

Right now, it seems Howard is trying to drum up interest. Maybe these rumors help.

But there’s nothing more productive he can do than helping the Rockets reach the playoffs and producing well in them.