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NBA exec backs referees

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff  December 31, 2008 08:21 PM

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While the NBA’s head of officials admitted that an “unfortunate incident” affected the Celtics’ 91-86 loss at Portland on Tuesday, the game’s final 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 3 seconds left in the first half wasn’t waived off despite the penalty by Portland. The Celtics complained to the NBA to no avail during the game. Today, NBA first-year Ron Johnson backed his referee crew for its decision.
"As our crew chief said last night, this situation is not a correctable error and therefore the play was administered properly by our crew,” said Johnson, 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 strongly after the loss. Boston (28-5) has dropped three of its past four games.

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