NBA Offers Weakest Excuses For Blown Shot-Clock Violation In Celtics–Bucks Crunchtime

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Just when we thought Bill Spooner had ended the race for the worst officiating decision of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, a trio of refs combined to top him.

In a battle for the series lead in Game 5 of the Bucks’ first-round matchup with the Celtics, refs James Williams, Pat Fraher, and Ken Mauer whiffed on a blatant shot-clock violation.

The no-call with 78 seconds left gave Boston an extra possession, helping to stem Milwaukee’s comeback from down 11 in the fourth quarter.

Because Al Horford’s prayer didn’t go in, the play was not reviewable.

Boston didn’t score on the ensuing possession, but Milwaukee wouldn’t get the ball back until 48.8 seconds remained, 29 seconds after Horford’s turnover that wasn’t.

Thanks in part to temporary three-way blindness, the Bucks lost by five.

NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia’s response to the officiating failure was somehow more embarrassing.

Check it out at around the 1:49 mark of this postgame interview with Matt Winer.

Gee, yeah, I never thought about it like that. Poor Williams, Fraher, and Mauer just happened to be the first refs in history to have to work in a loud arena. Also, players were on the sideline, that’s new. And the lights! Oh, how brightly the lights shone!

Let’s let Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe summarize the affair: