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NBA admits blown call at end of Hawks loss to Celtics

May 11, 2012, 10:31 PM EDT

Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett celebrates after regaining posession of the ball in front of Atlanta Hawks Al Horford during the second half of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff basketball series in Boston Reuters

Sorry Hawks fans, this sucks. And there is no recourse.

The NBA has admitted referees blew call in the final seconds Thursday that could have changed the outcome of the Hawks Game 6 loss to Boston that eliminated them.

If you were watching the TNT broadcast you heard the announcing crew confused by the call at the time. Here is a link to the video.

With 3.1 seconds left and Atlanta down 2, the Hawks were trying to inbound the ball and Boston’s Marquis Daniels was called for holding Atlanta’s Al Horford before the ball was inbounded.

A foul on an inbounds play before the ball is released means a free throw and the ball out of bounds. However, referee Eric Lewis said that the ball was in the air at the time of the foul and that made it just a common foul. The Celtics had a foul to give so the Hawks just got to inbound the ball again.

However, the replay clearly showed that the ball was not released at the time of the foul. Atlanta should have had been awarded a free throw and still had the ball out of bounds.

On the ensuing play, Horford was again fouled by Daniels but in the act of shooting. Horford hit one of two free throws, the Hawks went on to lose 83-80.

No, there is nothing the Hawks can do about it.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - May 11, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    No, they didn’t BLOW IT. They BLATANTLY OVERTURNED THE RIGHT CALL to make this call. Typical old-school Boston Garden officiating.

    I sat knowing the refs would do something to make sure Boston won that game. Fratello was going frantic repeating the rules THRICE, and the refs and most knowledgeable fans know the rule, yet they made the call initially and OVERTURNED IT.

    • raidmagic - May 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      You are correct…sad really

    • pgjimmy - May 12, 2012 at 12:07 AM

      Hawks still had their own fate in their hands, Horford just choked

      • hawksfan3 - May 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        I’d like to see you make 1/10 freethrows in that situation. It doesnt matter if horford had a chance to win despite the refs. at the end of the day the celtics were GIVEN the game by the refs. and they can’t win a game in any other way.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM

      See, wright. The refs/league cheat for the Celtics, not the Heat. Ever notice that when Bird was in college, a “Larry Bird Rule” allowed the Celtics to draft Bird, and when Bird was a free agent, they made a “Larry Bird Rule” that allowed the Celtics to keep him. And now this?

      Even you have to admit, the Heat don’t get THAT much love.

      • ike73 - May 12, 2012 at 5:43 AM

        bad calls happen all the time. when they happen at the end of games, its a conspiracy.

      • giselleisasucubus - May 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        dumbest post I have ever seen. You should do some research before typing. The Larry Bird rule is good for NBA players, veterans especially, and also good for the teams because it gives them flexibility when trying to sign guys. It has nothing to do with what you think it is. It has ZERO to do with the draft. When Red drafted Bird, the NBA allowed juniors to be drafted before coming into the league. Red got Bird, then the rule was changed. How is that favored toward the Celtics? They took him with the 8th pick, so what about those idiots who played by the same rules and passed? Do your homework if you’re going to post in here.

      • drewzducks - May 12, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Good point…if you had ANY idea what you were talking about. Bird was drafted as a junior eligible because his original freshman class, from his first year at IU, would have graduated in 1978, but when he transferred to ISU and sat out a year he was eligible for the 78 draft. Five other teams didn’t have the balls or patience to possibly wait a year to draft him except for the Celts who took him at #6. He went back to school for his senior season, setting up the Bird/Magic final, and signed shortly before the 79 draft, which he would have gone back into had he not signed. Even forgetting the junior eligibility, he most likely could have declared financial hardship, as was somewhat a common practice in those days, and entered the 78 draft due to his family’s financial straits.

        With regards to your claims of the Larry Bird Exception, Bird was NEVER a free agent. It is termed the Bird Exception because he was DUE to be a FA after the 83-84 season, thus making him the biggest named star FA available just prior to the implementation of the salary cap for the 84-85 season. The only time the Celtics and Bird ever used the Exception was in 88, when he had clearly out performed the 7 year deal he had signed in 1983 when there was not yet a salary cap. By then dozens of players had already been extended by their teams using the exception starting in the 84-85 season, which in fact was the first season with the salary cap in effect. The first Celtic ever extended using the exception was Maxwell. The whole premise of the Exception was to allow teams to keep their star players so they wouldn’t have to lose them because of the cap.

    • davidly - May 12, 2012 at 6:07 AM

      Absolutely correct.

      • giselleisasucubus - May 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        Absolutely incorrect. Look it up.

    • infectorman - May 12, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      No amount of blown calls will ever make up for the officials GIVING game 7 of the 08 finals to the Lakers. At least 4 major blown calls in the 4th Qtr of that game.

      The Hawks are 5 guys on a court together where the whole is not greater than the sum of it parts. Not a good TEAM. Tons of talent, not a good TEAM….yet.

    • giselleisasucubus - May 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      The crappy ticky tack foul on Avery Bradley? They overturned the call because it was being inbounded as the foul occurred. If you really think the NBA is favored for the Celts, well, you are clueless. Type Red Aurbach, David Stern and see what comes up. The NBA cares less who won that series, they just needed it to go at least 6 to get the gates. The league is dreaming of a Mia/LAL final, but it wont happen. If you think the Celtics havent been on the other side of a blown call in the playoffs, then you clearly watch through Boston hating glasses. For Atlanta to cry about calls is just insane. In game 5, Pierce and Rondo combined for 0 free throws, and Ray Allen got rocked going up for a layup with about 2:00 left. No call. It is what it is. The refs suck for all teams.

    • croydsblogs - May 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      How come no one has commented on the blow back court violation by the Celtics. In the last two minutes of the game they rebounded a missed shot by Atlanta but did not get over the midcourt line until 15 seconds were on the shot clock. As everyone knows, you only have 8 seconds to get the ball over whichwould put the shot clock at 16 seconds.

  2. scalfor3 - May 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    why the hell was marquis daniels guarding al horford in that situation?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 11, 2012 at 11:12 PM

      Beats me, you’d think KG would have been there, and not so much guarding Joe Johnson on the inbounds pass.

      But that’s just me. Less important is the inbounds pass and more about defending ANY shot attempt. Had the initial call been made correctly, Boston would have lost this game due to the set defense on the initial inbounds.

  3. nightrain42 - May 11, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    That’s Stern’s team. He babies them. Celtic/Heat Conf finals is a good tv series

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM

      Reading the posts on PBT, you’d think a Heat/Celts series would consist of nothing more than all 10 players on the court falling down for no reason, over and over again, trying to get a call.

  4. bhester1906 - May 11, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Why do they admit it after the fact like this? It kind of adds insult to injury. Its better off that they just say nothing.

    • jobotjones - May 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      I never understood this, the nfl does it all the time. It does not help at all and it is infuriating when it happens to your team.

  5. ike73 - May 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    oh well. saved the hawks two missed free throws

    • hawksfan3 - May 12, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      you mean “ohh well saved the celtics a loss”… Cuz the only way the celtics can win a series is with the refs giving them 3 games out of 4… but i mean every team needs to have a way to win… and for teams that suck like the celtics it just happens to be using the refs.

  6. bobulated - May 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    It was pretty obvious in that 4th period that the Celtics were going to get most of the calls.

    • ike73 - May 12, 2012 at 5:45 AM

      funny because the hawks didn’t seem particularly upset with any of the calls in the fourth quarter, and they’re ALWAYS upset with the calls

  7. dal24la - May 12, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    It was clear as day that the refs intentionally screwed the Hawks over but I can’t even get that mad because the Hawks still could have won were it not for some stupid little things they did in the end….
    I mean REALLY Josh Smith, WTF was up with that contested long 2pt fadeaway early in the shot clock!?

    • ike73 - May 12, 2012 at 5:44 AM

      “clear as day” LOL

  8. packhawk04 - May 12, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Blown call. Horford never got a chance to shoot free th…

    Oh wait…

    • hawksfan3 - May 12, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Hey atleast the celtics won it fairly….. OH WAIT NO THEY DIDNT THE REFS GAVE IT TO THEM.

  9. bleedgreen4life - May 12, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Can’t wait to see the officiating in the Sixers/Celtics series. That’s the one thing I cannot stand about the NBA is the official’s love for superstars and being that the Sixer’s have zero superstars they’re already screwed before the series starts. I’m a diehard Sixers fan but I’ll be very shocked if they can win a game at the garden. Should be a chippy series though.

  10. vtboo41 - May 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    It wasn’t the only call they blew, they were terrible the whole game.

  11. thestudiokida - May 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I don’t buy conspiracy theories when it comes to refs because why would I watch sports if I did? But I believe the refs intentionally gave this call to Boston. It’s one of those moral gray areas; one guy isn’t certain about the timing of the foul & pass and they all feel inclined not to piss off Boston basketball gods. Sorry Hawks you got screwed.

  12. barryblogs - May 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Celtics fan. It was an awful call, Celtics were lucky to win with or without calls. Have no clue how they will keep up with a young, fast Philly team.

  13. giselleisasucubus - May 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    The anti-Celtic crowd is delusional. Most of you guys really don’t get it. The NBA babies the Celtics? That might be the most ignorant comment I have seen on this site. Stern HATES the Celtics. Hated Red. It is documented. Stern was quoted in 02 saying the “Lakers Vs. Lakers would be the best finals we could have”. In 93, Red asks the league for cap relief for Reggie Lewis, because he DIED. Denied. In 2003, Antonio McDyess blew out his knee playing for the Knicks. They applied for cap relief. APPROVED. Think about that for a minute. Does that sound like a commissioner who favors the Celtics? HELL no. Stern likes the teams the make him the most $$$$$.

  14. soflasfinest - May 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Refs f’n up a call psh what else in new

  15. dirtmcgirt413 - May 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Waaaaaaaaaaahhhh! Waaaaaahhhh! Haters keep on keeping! Can’t wait for game one tonight! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    • hawksfan3 - May 12, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Maybe the Celtics can win this one without the refs giving it to them.

  16. mannyicey - May 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I saw so many fouls from the Celtics that they didn’t call, that I had to just turn it off. The NBA is beginning to resemble the WWE so much that it’s crazy. Watch even the next series. What the NBA and the networks want is a Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference Final. Oh, and they want a Laker-Heat Final. And they want the Heat to win.

    Oh, and I can predict Wrestlemania outcomes, too!

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