The Boston Celtics fended off a tough Bucks squad last night at home to take a commanding 3-2 lead, thanks to a big night from Al Horford, solid defense from their bench, and a critical missed call late in the fourth quarter. With 1:14 left, Al Horford hoisted a three-pointer that clearly left his hand after the shot clock rang, but referees stayed bafflingly silent. Semi Ojeleye managed to tap the long rebound out to Terry Rozier, who was fouled by Thon Maker. Boston was then allowed to run another full possession’s worth of time off the clock and miss a shot before the Bucks got the ball back with 48 seconds left.
The missed call wasn’t the sole reason the Bucks lost, but it did slow their momentum and leave them without enough time to mount an adequate comeback. Eric Bledsoe said, “It was bullshit, point blank.” Asked if he received an explanation for the call, Bucks coach Joe Prunty responded, “Not a good enough one.” Referee Ken Mauer told a pool reporter after the game that they couldn’t review the play because, “The rule states that under two minutes we are not allowed to review a potential 24-second violation unless the ball goes in the basket.”
Senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia broke down the play, which he noted required the referees to check Horford’s feet, Maker’s closeout, and the Bucks sideline. Borgia admitted the violation, but said, “It was an unfortunate miss but—knock wood—they did not score on the next possession.”
The series heads to Milwaukee tomorrow for a must-win Game 6 for the Bucks. Hopefully Thon Maker found some more KG videos.