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.
Celtics get away with a shot clock violation in crunch time pic.twitter.com/lbZO5dAsNa
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 25, 2018
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.
Making the Call: April 24, 2018: Joe Borgia, NBA Senior Vice President of Replay & Referee Operations, joined @NBATV to discuss a couple of challenging plays from the Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics Game 5 (First Round) on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/3laWJvK5CI
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) April 25, 2018
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:
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