This isn’t a surprise — the in-game officials already admitted they made a mistake. This also isn’t going to save Damian Lillard from a fine (even if it should).
However, the NBA’s Last Two Minute report confirmed what everyone else saw: Rudy Gobert goaltended on Damian Lillard’s attempt to tie the game in the final seconds Friday night. From the report:
“Gobert (UTA) makes contact with Lillard’s (POR) shot attempt after it hits the backboard and still has a chance to score. Goaltending is only a reviewable matter when it is whistled on the floor by officials.”
THIS IS GOALTENDING!!!! pic.twitter.com/w3qxAvMbmt
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) February 8, 2020
The second part of that became the issue — because the referees didn’t call anything, by the NBA’s rules there is nothing to review. This can’t be sent to the review center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
The other thing that really seems to be sticking in the collective craw of the team was the explanation from the officials. According to multiple players, officials said it “wasnt even close” to a goaltend.
— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) February 8, 2020
The referees owned up to the miss later, that was not enough for a pissed off Lillard.
We don’t wana hear this punk Ass shit. https://t.co/nuG56kaHbR
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) February 8, 2020
Utah went on to hit their free throws and win the game, 117-114.
C.J. McCollum on the foul: “It cost us a game. We’re competing for a playoff spot. The explanation I got pissed me off… makes me think you’re not capable of doing the job the way you’re supposed to. Which means you should be reprimanded and you should be fined accordingly.”
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 8, 2020
The league report changes nothing. Hopefully, what can come out of this in future seasons is a way for the review center to buzz the game officials on blatant missed calls — whether there was a call to review or not — and have them get it right. For a Portland team trying to catch Memphis and get into the playoffs, this game mattered.