The Miami Heat got some bad news on Sunday.
That Max Strus 3-pointer that cut their deficit to 56-54 early on the third quarter? It didn’t happen.
Nearly three minutes after three Miami points went on the board during Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, the NBA took them off. League officials reviewed the bucket and determined that Strus stepped out of bounds prior to launching a corner 3 with 11:03 left in the third quarter.
Strus hit the bucket on a pass from Kyle Lowry. The Heat guard took the pass on the wing, pump faked Robert Williams and stepped back and to the side for a 3-pointer from the left corner. The ball bounced off the rim, then the backboard and through the net to cut Miami’s deficit to two points as the Heat continued to cut into a Celtics lead that had reached 16 points in the second quarter.
With 8:28 left in the third, the Heat’s public address announcer announced that officials had negated the basket. What was previously a 65-57 Celtics lead increased to 65-54. Replay showed Strus appear to step out of bounds with his left heel before shooting.
Heat fans were displeased on a multiple fronts. First, why were officials reviewing a play and taking points of the board nearly three minutes later? Second, they weren’t convinced that Strus stepped actually out of bounds — or that video evidence was clear enough to negate a bucket.
Officials circle back to review 3-pointers all time when there’s a break in the action. That’s what happened here. The decision is usually to determine whether a basket was an actual 3-pointer or if a player toed the 3-point line for two points. In this instance, the decision was whether the bucket should have counted at all. That it happened in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals magnified things.
Did officials get things right? Arguing that Strus didn’t step out of bounds requires some Heat-colored lenses. But in a postseason that’s been plagued by an endless parade of replay reviews that range from inane to legitimately controversial, NBA officials don’t elicit the benefit of the doubt. Any perception that they’re impacting the outcome of a game isn’t going to go fly with fans.
Source: Yahoo Sports