NBA confirms: Marcus Smart fouled Jimmy Butler

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Marcus Smart was called for fouling Jimmy Butler, who sank a pair of free throws in the final second to give the Bulls a 104-103 win over the Celtics on Thursday.

“He got a piece of the elbow,” Butler said.

Said Boston guard Isaiah Thomas: A bad call cost us the game.

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.