It was one of the key moments at the end of game, another nail in the Bulls coffin in Game 4.
The Bulls were down 6 and there was 2:30 left when Derrick Rose was behind the three-point line, got defender Jamal Crawford up in the air then leapt into him as he shot to get the three point play. It looked like a foul. The whistle blew.
Then referee Bennett Salvatore walked over to the scorer’s table and said it was an inadvertent whistle. Jump ball. The Hawks got the ball off the tip, and that was the play where Josh Smith made the quick pass from the top of the key to Al Horford open underneath for the slam. That made it an eight-point lead and the Bulls never caught up.
After the game, Salvatore admitted he blew it, as reported by Steve Ascheburner at NBA.com.
“I blew my whistle. I was positive it was not a foul,” the veteran ref told a pool reporter. “I blew my whistle by accident, which is an inadvertent whistle. That’s why I disallowed it.
“Having watched the replay, it was a foul. I made a mistake. I was wrong.”
Credit to Salvatore for admitting the error.
And if you’re a Bulls fan that thinks that call was what cost you the game, I would like to point you to the night of below average defense and Derrick Rose’s tough night shooting. The Bulls lost because the Hawks outplayed them, not the refs.