“He got a piece of the elbow,” Butler said.
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report ruled on the contentious call, backing the refs’ assessment of a foul:
Smart (BOS) makes contact with Butler’s (CHI) arm that affects his jump shot attempt. Any contact to a shooter’s hand, arm, or wrist prior to the release of the shot is considered a foul
This is correct. It wasn’t the most egregious foul, but Smart touched Thomas’ arm. That’s a foul.
The league’s ruling won’t change the Celtics’ objections. They’ll remain stubbornly defiant, which — even if you ask Butler — is understandable.