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NBA admits referee mistake

January 1, 2009
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While the NBA's head of officials admitted that an "unfortunate incident" affected the Celtics' 91-86 loss at Portland Tuesday, the game's result will not be changed.

Portland was given a technical foul at the end of the first half for having six players on the court. However, a basket by Blazers swingman Travis Outlaw with three seconds left in the half wasn't waived off despite the penalty by Portland. The Celtics complained to the NBA to no avail during the game. Yesterday, Ron Johnson, first-year senior vice president, referee operations, backed his crew.

"As our crew chief said last night, this situation is not a correctable error and therefore the play was administered properly by our crew," Johnson said in a statement issued by the NBA. "It was an unfortunate incident and moving forward we will learn from it.

"We continue to strive to get every call right."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers and several players complained about the mistake after the loss. Boston (28-5) has dropped three of its last four games and will return to practice today after taking yesterday off.

MARC J. SPEARS

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