After the Rockets’ 122-118 win over the Nets on Monday, James Harden said, “Every game isn’t going to be perfect.”
This one certainly wasn’t – not by the referees
Houston got away with two fouls on possessions that ended in Brooklyn turnovers, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report. Reversing either huge swing, let alone both, could’ve turned the game’s result.
The first incorrectly uncalled foul should’ve been whistled with 1:31 left, when Sean Kilpatrick drew contact from Eric Gordon before barreling into Nene for a charge. NBA:
Gordon (HOU) makes contact with Kilpatrick’s (BKN) arm that affects his driving shot attempt.
A correctly called shooting foul would’ve given Kilpatrick – who’s making 84% of his free throws this season and 86% for his career – two attempts from the line. Instead, the charge meant the Nets came up empty on the possession.
The other incorrectly uncalled foul came on a Brooklyn inbound with eight eight seconds left. Patrick Beverley grabbed Jeremy Lin before the inbound pass was released, per the league:
Beverley (HOU) grabs and holds Lin (BKN) and affects his FOM during the inbound.
Because it occurred before the inbound pass was released, a correctly called foul would have given Brooklyn one free throw and the ball. Lin is shooting 69% on free throws this season and 80% for his career.
Instead, the Rockets stole the inbound pass. The Nets had to intentionally foul, and Houston added two free throws in its four-point win.
Strangely, the two-minute report acknowledges the Nets shouldn’t have even had the ball for that inbound. The ball on the previous play went off Lin, but officials ruled it off Nene and didn’t review the play. Yet, the league doesn’t denote that as an incorrect call, presumably because determining the correct call required “enhanced video.” But in a situation where a review should have occurred, this seems like an error the league should acknowledge more directly.
Either way, the first missed call in the report – Gordon getting away with a shooting foul – is enough for the Nets to wonder whether an unfavorable whistle down the stretch cost them this game.