NBA L2M report for C’s-Pacers ending won’t sit well with Boston fans

NBA L2M report for C’s-Pacers ending won’t sit well with Boston fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla looked forward to reviewing the NBA’s Last-Two Minute Report after Monday’s controversial loss to the Indiana Pacers.

He won’t like what he sees.

With the score tied at 131 and just 3.2 seconds left, Pacers guard Buddy Hield appeared to foul Celtics star Jaylen Brown on his game-winning shot attempt. Hield seemingly made contact with Brown’s head while attempting to block his shot from behind.

Hield initially was called for a foul, but that call was reversed after the Pacers challenged the play. Indiana was given possession of the ball, and the controversy continued.

Pacers wing Bennedict Mathurin drew a foul on Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis on his last-second shot attempt, resulting in two free-throw makes and a 133-131 Indiana victory. Still in disbelief after the game, Brown called for the league to undergo an investigation.

The NBA released its Last Two Minute Report on Tuesday afternoon and it certainly won’t appease the Celtics. Here’s the conclusion that was drawn on the Hield/Brown play:

“On replay review, the coach’s challenge of the shooting foul called on Hield (IND) was deemed successful. The video clearly shows that Hield reaches forward and makes contact with the ball from behind Brown (BOS). While in contact with the ball, Hield also makes minimal contact with Brown’s head, and on review that contact was correctly deemed incidental.

As the rulebook makes clear, the mere fact that contact occurs does not necessarily constitute a foul; contact which is incidental to an effort by a player to defend an opponent, reach a loose ball, or perform normal defensive or offensive movements is not considered illegal. Play resumed with IND possession, since Nesmith (IND) had imminent possession at the point of interruption.”

Making matters even worse, the league ruled that Porzingis shouldn’t have been called for the foul on Mathurin that ultimately led to Boston’s defeat.

Porzingis (BOS) is above the ball and legally contests Mathurin’s (IND) shot attempt, with some incidental arm contact occurring concurrent with the block. Referees conducted a replay review to determine if the foul was called with no time remaining on the clock (00:00), and determined it was called before the expiration of time. The clock was reset with 0.6 remaining on the clock. The foul itself was not a reviewable matter under this replay trigger.

The report also determined that Pacers big man Myles Turner should have been called for an illegal screen on Celtics guard Derrick White with two seconds remaining in regulation.

The NBA’s official rulings won’t sit well with Boston, but as Porzingis wrote on X shortly after the report’s release, it’s “on to the next one” for the C’s.

The Celtics will return home to host the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. They’ll hope the officials won’t be a factor as they look to improve to 18-0 at TD Garden this season.