The Celtics may not have liked the foul call on Marcus Smart, that led to the winning free throws by Chicago’s Jimmy Butler on Thursday night, but it is officially listed as a “correct call” by the NBA.
According to the league’s “Last Two-Minute Report,” which assesses all officiating calls in the last two minutes of any games that are within 5 points, Smart fouled Butler.
The following is from the Last Two-Minute Report.
“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.”
The designation given to the call on the report is “CC,” meaning “correct call.”
Smart and the Celtics were adamant that he should not have been whistled in that situation, while Butler has steadfastly contended that contact was made and the foul was warranted.
Smart was defending on the play, and an official standing near the baseline ruled that his hand had made contact with Butler’s elbow. With 0.9 seconds left on the clock, Butler hit the two free throws to give the Bulls a 104-103 victory. Replays were inconclusive, and the Celtics were incensed.
In the 20 plays examined by the league over the final two minutes of Thursday’s game, all were deemed to be the correct call (or non-call). Butler was touched on the right elbow by Marcus Smart on a jumper at the final horn. Like Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Butler had 29 points and seven assists.
“He got a piece of the elbow. People are going to say, ‘Aw, he didn’t foul him,’ but he did. So at the end of the day they made the right call.”
“That’s horrible when it costs you a game you should have won. That’s a bad call.”
Smart declined to say specifically whether he made contact.
Thomas had his 41st straight game with at least 20 points, breaking John Havlicek’s team record.