NBA: Refs blew end of game five
THE NBA's report for game five of the Philadelphia-Boston Eastern Conference semi-final series made for some pretty frustrating reading for Sixers fans.
Not only did the referees get it wrong when they failed to call Aussie centre Aron Baynes for fouling Joel Embiid on his attempted game-tying lay-up with 15 seconds to play - they also blew two other calls in the final 45 seconds, with both going against Philly.
The game was tied at 109-109 when Dario Saric received the ball in the post with Marcus Smart guarding him.
On review, the NBA concluded Smart initiated illegal contact with Saric that impeded him in the post. But the referees swallowed their whistles and Saric lost control of the ball, leading to a turnover and Jayson Tatum's lead-taking lay-up at the other end.
After a time-out, the 76ers fed Embiid down low. He battled his way to the basket but missed his shot. The NBA's report said "Baynes makes contact to Embiid's arm that affects his shot attempt near the rim".
Philadelphia was forced to foul and after Terry Rozier made both free throws, JJ Redick kept the visitors' hopes alive by hitting a three to make it 113-112. Philly then fouled Marcus Smart, who missed his first free throw before making his second (despite trying to miss).
It left the 76ers 2.4 seconds to go for a game-winner, but Ben Simmons heave down the court was intercepted by Smart.
The icing on the cake for Philly fans? The NBA conceded Smart travelled before throwing the ball in the air in celebration: "Smart gathers the ball while landing on his right foot, after which he steps back with his left (establishing it as his pivot foot), then right. He then steps slightly with his left again before jumping to release the ball."
There was little objection by the Sixers post-game because they understood you can't rely on these types of calls at the end of playoff games.
"I thought the refs were great tonight, but there could've been something (a foul from Baynes) there," was as far as Embiid would go.