Friday, June 21 2024
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Yet another late mistake by officials has marred the ending of one of the most exciting finishes in the 2024 NBA postseason. Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey made two phenomenal clutch plays to force overtime in Tuesday’s wild 112-106 Game 5 win over the New York Knicks. On Wednesday, however, the league admitted that one of them shouldn’t have counted.

In the Last Two-Minute Report from Game 5, the NBA said that Maxey’s four-point play with 25 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter should have been waved off due to a traveling violation.

“Maxey gathers the ball on his left foot, takes two legal steps, and then moves his right foot again just before he is fouled on his shot,” the report stated.

In real time there was little, if any, discussion about Maxey’s 4-point play being a traveling violation. But under a microscope, you can clearly see that he slides his pivot foot in order to draw contact from Knicks center Mitchell Robinson. The play was one of the game’s most pivotal, bringing the Sixers within two points and eventually leading to Maxey’s game-tying 3-pointer from the logo with eight seconds left. The dynamic guard finished with 46 points and nine assists, going 7-for-12 from 3-point range.

The 76ers were also the beneficiary of another missed call, this one occurring in overtime. After a missed floater by Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, the referees deemed Josh Hart to be out of bounds when he attempted to save the ball. In the Last Two-Minute Report, the league said that Hart was not, in fact, out of bounds.

The Knicks trailed by two points at the time and Hart’s save went directly to teammate Isaiah Hartenstein, who was standing under the basket. Perhaps Hartenstein could have made a game-tying layup, or at the very least the Knicks would have had a fresh 14 seconds to attempt another shot. Instead, the 76ers were granted possession.

This, of course, is not the first time that the Last Two-Minute Report has led to controversy during this series. The league admitted multiple referee mistakes as the Knicks launched a similar late comeback in Game 2, saying that Maxey was fouled twice on the inbounds play that led to Donte DiVincenzo’s go-ahead 3-pointer, and that 76ers coach Nick Nurse should have been granted timeout.

If Philadelphia fans were upset about the missed calls in Game 2, they can take solace in the fact that without the Game 5 mistake, they would likely have been eliminated from the playoffs. Instead they live to fight again in Thursday’s Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center, when eyes will once again be on the officiating in what has been a physical and eventful series.

Source: CBSSports.com

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