The game officials were correct in calling the offensive foul against James Harden but missed three crucial calls in the Boston Celtics win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
According to the Last-Two-Minute report of the NBA, Smart traveled with 10.4 seconds remaining before he passed the ball to Jayson Tatum for the dunk. Also, Celtics forward Al Horford also committed a traveling violation with 6.8 seconds.
If the referees called the two violations, Rockets would have walked away with the win. Instead, Horford hit the game-winning basket.
The Rockets superstar was called for two offensive fouls late in the game—one with 7.3 seconds remaining when he pushed off Smart, and another with just 3.7 seconds to go and he pushed Smart again so he could catch the inbound pass.
Meanwhile, Harden was not too happy about the game having only two referees after Mark Lindsay sustained an injury. He said only two referees changed the game.
“It’s tough. You can’t have two officials in a professional game,” he told The Houston Chronicle. “There were a lot of no-calls that needed to be called because that changes the dynamic of the game.”
Harden said there were a lot of holding and grabbing, with Smart virtually hugging him to prevent him from getting open. He also said the referees missed a lot of no-calls that would have resulted in a turnover for the Celtics, which would have changed the outcome.
However, the Last-Two-Minute report by the NBA concluded that all the 10 plays involving Harden were correct. These include three calls correctly whistled by the game officials and seven non-calls, which were also assessed to be right.
For his part, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said that he didn’t even bother to look at the report of the NBA. “I don’t care,” he said. “It’s over.”