Atlanta Hawks: NBA admits blown call in Game 6 (plus notes)
The NBA said Marquis Daniels should have been called sooner for fouling Al Horford on an inbound play with 3.1 seconds left in Game 6. If game officials had made the correct call the Hawks, who trailed 81-79 at the time, would have been awarded a free throw and possession of the ball.
The league posted a link with an explanation on one of its official Twitter accounts:
During the last two minutes of the fourth period or overtime, if a personal foul is assessed against the defensive team prior to the ball being released on a throw-in, it is considered an Away-From-The-Play Foul and the offensive team is awarded one free throw and possession of the ball. With 3.1 seconds remaining in the the Boston-Atlanta game last night, a foul was called on the Celtics’ Marquis Daniels after the Hawks’ Marvin Williams had released the ball and therefore the foul was correctly treated as a common foul and not an Away-From-the-Play foul. With that said, however, the replay shows that the foul on Daniels should have been called sooner than it was by the officials, in which case it would have met the requirements of an Away-From-The-Play Foul.
I watched the video numerous times and it’s very close as to whether Daniels was called for a foul before Marvin released the ball. In any event, league spokesman Tim Frank said the rules do not give game officials the option to look at a video replay to determine when the ball is thrown in or when a foul is committed.
Of course there is no recourse for the Hawks, who protested the call during the game. Coach Larry Drew said game officials told him Daniels fouled Horford after Williams released the ball.
“That would have been a huge play, a huge turn of events,” Josh Smith said.
Horford said game officials didn’t offer the players much of an explanation.
“We knew we were on the road and we weren’t going to get anything [and] we were going to have to earn everything we got so it was no surprise they didn’t call the foul earlier,” he said. “He was grabbing me the whole time.”
Notes from exit interview day
- Drew said neither he nor his agent have talked to Hawks management about his contract option for next season. He said he planned to “get away for a few days” before taking up the issue next week.
- Not sure how much there is to the Chris Broussard report linking Rick Sund to the Portland GM opening. Hawks owners have expressed an interest in re-signing Sund but haven’t made a formal offer. Sund has told people he may be interested in a part-time consulting role with the Hawks or another team and also is considering retirement.
- Josh didn’t have much to say about his future, except to repeat “I’m under contract for one more year with the Hawks” and remind media that he could be fined for talking about the reports of his trade request. His trade request still stands for all the reasons I reported before the trade deadline. I’m told another factor that can be added to the list is his desire to play in what he believes to be a better basketball market. But I’m sure you might have inferred that from the way Josh (without prompting) contrasted Boston’s fans with Atlanta’s throughout the series.
- Al said he would resume rehabilitation for his pectoral. “I’m very limited,” he said. “I made a lot of progress in two weeks but I’m about 50 or 60 percent strength.” He reiterated that he didn’t feel comfortable returning before Game 4: “I knew I had a ways to go. Even when I came back, I felt limited. I gave it all I had for the team and for the city. Our city had big expectations for us. It was unfortunate we had a number of injuries and couldn’t do what we wanted.”
- Drew wouldn’t say exactly went wrong on Atlanta’s penultimate possession, which ended with Josh missing a 22-footer, except to say the ball was supposed to go to Joe Johnson. I watched the replay a few times and best I can tell is that Josh was supposed to set a pick to free Joe to cut to the basket or, if Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass switched, end up in the high post against Pierce. However, it looked as if Josh released his screen too soon and stepped out to the perimeter.
- Al on the play: “We drew up a play. I thought it was a pretty good play. I got it and swung it to Josh. Joe, they did a good job denying him, so Josh forced up a tough shot. It didn’t go down.”
- Mike Prada at SB Nation has a different interpretation of the play. He thinks the first option was for Al to feed Josh the ball on the left block. That doesn’t jibe with Drew’s explanation but both could be true considering Drew’s plays have multiple options. Prada also thinks the Celtics got away with a lot of clutching and grabbing on the play. (H/T Jason Walker of Peachtree Hoops).
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat