Would it have made a difference? We’ll never know.
But the NBA’s official Last Two Minute Report on the officiating from Game 6 confirmed what a lot of us saw — a full second ran off the clock before the final play and it was not noticed by the referees.
After John Wall‘s deep three that proved to be the game winner, the Celtics called a timeout to advance the ball and allow Brad Stevens to draw up a sideline out-of-bounds play. Boston’s Jae Crowder ran along the baseline toward inbounder Al Horford and got a screen from Kelly Olynyk, which the Wizards switched, leaving Kelly Oubre on Olynyk, a size and strength mismatch in Boston’s favor. Horford tried to inbound the ball deep to Olynyk and Oubre wisely fouled him. It was the Wizards foul to give (it did not put Boston in the penalty).
But watch the video of that play — the official calls the foul with 2.7 seconds left, but the clock runs another full second before it stops.
Here is what the NBA’s report said.
The foul is whistled with approximately 2.7 seconds on the clock, but the clock runs to 1.7 seconds before stopping. The clock should have been stopped earlier automatically on the whistle or by the neutral clock operator. Instant replay is not permitted in this situation.
Replay may not be allowed, but usually the referees notice, confer, and put some time back on the clock. They missed it on this play.
But before Boston fans try to say they were screwed by the officials, the report calls out one other missed call that went in the Celtics favor and led to a bucket.
With 41.2 seconds left and the score tied at 87-87, Boston runs a sidelines out-of-bounds play that has Avery Bradley starting on the left block area, run up and around a screen by Horford at the right elbow, then into the right corner where he got a pass and drained a long two. Except look at the screen by Horford on Bradley Beal — it was not legal. From the report:
Horford (BOS) establishes a wide screening position and extends his arms into Beal (WAS), delivering the contact.
So it all balances out in the end.
Game 7 between these teams is Monday night.