NBA: Rockets got away with fouling Jazz center Jeff Withey on game-tying dunk attempt

AP Photo/George Frey
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Rockets leading Jazz by two points with 26 seconds left – Utah center Jeff Withey was obviously fouled on his dunk attempt.

Players on both teams stopped. The game clock even paused an extra few beats at 24.7 seconds.

But the officials made no call.

That was an error, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report for Houston’s 93-91 win. Montrezl Harrell should’ve been called for fouling Withey, though it sounds the whistle could’ve just as easily been blown on James Harden:

Harden (HOU) and Harrell (HOU) both make contact with Withey’s (UTA) arm and affect his dunk attempt

Withey is a career 69% free-throw shooter. If that reflected his true odds on two attempts last night, he had a 47% chance of tying the game. But even if he missed one, the Jazz could’ve extended the game by intentionally fouling while a point closer.

Instead, Utah intentionally fouled down two. Jason Terry made a free throw to push the Rockets’ lead to three.

Then, the Jazz were on the wrong end of another missed call.

Gordon Hayward tried to get open during an inbound with 12.9 seconds left and got tangled with Trevor Ariza. The league ruled Arizona should’ve been called for fouling Hayward:

Ariza (HOU) grabs and holds Hayward (UTA), affecting his FOM as he attempts to get open during the inbounds play

Because the contact occurred before the inbound pass was released, that would’ve meant a Hayward free-throw attempt and the Jazz keeping the ball.

Utah has limited room to complain about the possession, though. Rodney Hood drew a foul on a 3-point attempt, but he made just two of the three free throws. Still, if Hayward (81% from the line for his career) had gotten and made his free throw, the Jazz could’ve looked for a two-pointer to tie – or even used the threat of a two to get a cleaner look at a 3-pointer.

In reality, Utah intentionally fouled again. Terry added another free throw to secure the final 93-91 score.

For what it’s worth, there was one other missed call in the report – this one to the Jazz’s benefit. Trevor Booker got away with fouling Dwight Howard, who was attempting to corral an offensive rebound, with 1:05 left. But Houston grabbed the rebound anyway, and Utah wasn’t in the penalty.

In the end, the Rockets broke even on key late calls in the last week. That doesn’t do anything for the Jazz, though.