Reviewing the reviews: Refs clearly messed up
With time to assess what went wrong in the Bulls’ 119-118 overtime loss to Denver on Monday, here’s how things shake down:
--Joakim Noah’s potential game-winning tip in with 1.7 seconds left in overtime, by rule, was offensive goaltending. The play started with a baseline jumper by Marco Belinelli. Noah’s initial contact with the ball appeared to come outside the cylinder, but on a shot like that, which was likely to hit the rim, no player on either side is allowed to touch the ball on its downward flight.
Now, if Noah had caught and dunked it, who knows? Plays like that happen in every NBA game. Denver’s JaVale McGee tipped in a ball during the first half, and whether it was meant as a shot or pass, it was probably going to hit the rim.
--Regarding the disputed tip in by Nuggets center Kosta Koufos, the referees explained to Tom Thibodeau they didn’t check replay on that one because they made no call and simply counted the basket. It gave Denver a 116-115 edge with 46.4 seconds left in overtime.
According to nba.com. referees are allowed to use video to check the accuracy of goaltending calls in the final two minutes of regulation or at any point in overtime. Since there was no goaltending call, they didn’t check it.
--Which brings us to this conclusion – the officiating crew clearly screwed up. Koufos tipped in a ball that was sitting on the rim and should have been ruled offensive goaltending.
They didn’t use replay because they missed an obvious call.
That basket shouldn’t have counted and who knows how the game would have turned out had it gone the other way. But the Bulls also contributed to their own demise, falling behind by 14 points in the second quarter and missing a free throw with 18 seconds left in overtime that would have given them a 3-point lead.
The missed free throw paved the way for Andre Iguodala’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left in OT.
Iguodala didn’t jump on the scorer’s table, like he did after Philadelphia edged the short-handed Bulls in last year’s playoffs, but the Nuggets celebrated Monday’s disputed win with gusto. They tied a franchise record with their 12th straight victory.
The Bulls had plenty of reason to complain, but all they can do is pick up the pieces and move on. Maybe they’ll get an injured player or two back by Thursday when they host Portland.