The Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks series continues to be one of the most entertaining of the entire first round of the NBA playoffs. The Celtics took a 3-2 series lead on Tuesday night, partly thanks to Marcus Smart returning from injury and partly thanks to a ridiculous missed call by of the officiating crew.
Boston was up by five points with a little more than 90 seconds left. At 1:18 on the clock, Al Horford clearly still has the ball in his hands when the 24-second shot clock buzzer goes off. Every single referee on the floor ignored it, allowing Semi Ojeleye to tip the rebound out to Terry Rozier, who was immediately fouled.
Celtics get away with a shot clock violation in crunch time pic.twitter.com/lbZO5dAsNa
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 25, 2018
The Bucks should have gotten the ball back with 1:18 to go, with a change to turn it into a one possession game. There’s a still a good chance the Celtics would have hung on to win, but what a massive mistake by the refs!
Members of the Bucks were obviously annoyed by the missed call, as demonstrated by interim head coach Joe Prunty’s comments after the game. One reporter asked if Prunty received an explanation from the referees about the call.
“Not a good enough one,” responded Prunty. “I was asking for a shot clock violation. I didn’t think he got the ball off, so I said ‘that’s a shot clock violation’. You’ll have to ask [the refs] if they can review it.”
Milwaukee point guard Eric Bledsoe was less diplomatic about the controversial non-call:
Reporter: “Did you guys get any explanation about Al Horford’s shot clock violation?”
Eric Bledsoe: “I think it was bullshit. Point blank.”
Bucks PR: “Thanks, Eric.”
— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) April 25, 2018
The official word is that referees are not currently allowed to review a play on the grounds of a potential shot-clock violation, whether it’s getting the shot off in time or whether the ball hits the rim. That seems like a big hole in the rulebook, considering how black and white those decisions should be.
The series shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Thursday night, as the Bucks attempt to stay alive and force a Game 7.