NBA confirms decision to add time in final seconds of Celtics-Heat Game 6 was the right call

The officials added 0.9 seconds back on the clock following Al Horford's shooting foul on Jimmy Butler on one of the last plays of the game.

Al Horford fouled Jimmy Butler in the final seconds of Game 6, but there was some questions about what happened before and after the play. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

There was some controversy in the aftermath of the Celtics’ thrilling Game 6 win over the Heat. But the NBA didn’t see an issue with how the officials called the Heat’s final offensive play of the game.

In its Last Two Minute report of Saturday’s Game 6, the NBA determined that everything was called correctly on the play that Jimmy Butler was fouled by Al Horford when he attempted a shot in the game’s final seconds.

The report confirmed that Butler was fouled by Horford when he went up for a shot behind the 3-point line, which the Celtics unsuccessfully challenged. It also confirmed that refs were right to not call a double dribble on Butler as he picked up the ball after losing in the moments prior to getting fouled.

“Butler (MIA) fumbles the ball out of his control when he ends his dribble, then recovers it and legally attempts a field goal,” the league wrote in its review on Butler’s possible double dribble.


More importantly, the report also determined that the foul occurred with three seconds left. There were initially 2.1 seconds left on the clock when the foul was called, but the officials added 0.9 seconds to the clock after the Celtics’ challenge.

“Replay review of the foul called on Horford (BOS) pursuant to a coach’s challenge was deemed unsuccessful,” the league wrote in its review. “Horford (BOS) made contact with Butler (MIA) during his shooting motion and a foul was warranted. During the review, the Replay Center Official also determined that i) the foul occurred at 3.0 seconds and adjusted the clock accordingly; and ii) Butler’s shot attempt was taken from behind the three-point line, and therefore three free throws were awarded.”

The added time ended up being pivotal for the Celtics. Derrick White wouldn’t have enough time to get the game-winning putback as the ball came out of his hand with just 0.1 seconds left.

With the time addition helping the Celtics, there was some controversy on social media if the officials might have cost the Heat the game. That didn’t end up being the case though.

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report also found that the Heat benefitted from the only two missed calls in Saturday’s game. The report found that Caleb Martin should’ve been called for a lane violation on Jaylen Brown’s missed free throw with just over a minute left. It also found that Gabe Vincent should’ve been called for a shooting foul on Jayson Tatum with 33.5 seconds left, when the Celtics held a 101-100.


Luckily for the Celtics, those missed calls didn’t come back to haunt them. They’ll look to be the first team to ever comeback from a 3-0 deficit and win a series in NBA history in Monday’s Game 7.


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