The Cavaliers have suffered plenty of self-inflicted wounds this season.
The latest – a loss to the Grizzlies, who were missing four starters – might not have been as much Cleveland’s fault as it appeared.
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report for the game included three officiating errors, two in favor of Memphis.
To start, each team got a defensive stop thanks to an incorrectly uncalled foul.
Tony Allen should’ve been whistled for impeding LeBron James’ Rhythm, Speed, Balance, Quickness with 1:37 left. NBA:
Allen (MEM) makes contact with James (CLE) around the waist that affects his RSBQ.
Then, with 55.1 seconds left, Tristan Thompson got away with fouling Mario Chalmers. NBA:
Thompson (CLE) makes body to body contact with Chalmers (MEM) that affects his RSBQ and causes him to lose control of the ball.
The missed call in favor of the Cavaliers helped them more, because they turned it into a turnover and a fastbreak basket. But the Grizzlies also scored after their uncalled foul.
For most intents and purposes, this was a wash.
But that set up the final officiating error, which swung the game strongly in Memphis’ favor.
Tony Allen won a jump ball against LeBron, because Lance Stephenson got away with fouling Matthew Dellavedova with 17.4 seconds left. NBA:
Stephenson (MEM) makes contact with Dellavedova (CLE) that affects his ability to secure the loose ball
As usual, we can’t know how the game would’ve ended if called correctly. But this was a huge error. Instead of the Cavs drawing a foul, they had to start intentionally fouling Memphis in a 106-103 loss.
So, the Cavaliers can feel wronged, though they must still answer the biggest question:
Why were they in a contested game down the stretch with such a short-handed Grizzlies team in the first place?