Before we start his post, I must issue a disclaimer. The Celtics lost Game 1, and they did it all by themselves. There were a few questionable foul/travel calls for the C’s, but to be fair, the same can be argued by Knicks fans. All things considered, the Celtics shot more free throws than the Knicks and any time that happens in a road playoff game, it’s hard to complain.
With that said, it’s time for me to complain. No, not complain, let’s say marvel, at one of the most perplexing foul calls I’ve ever seen in an NBA game. I probably would have let it slide, but with two lengthy offdays in between Game 1 and 2, I’ve been unable to move on from it. Blame the NBA.
The play came in the closing seconds of the third quarter. The Celtics were still holding things together at that point, nursing a 70-65 point lead. The Celtics had the ball on offense, and their possession ended with Kevin Garnett missing a four foot jumper in the lane. What happened after that, I still don’t understand. Let’s look to the video for answers.
Jason Terry was having a rough game as it was on Saturday, as people were rightfully hounding him for an ugly shooting night. Give credit to Terry though, he was trying to do other little things to make up for his subpar offense. One thing he generally never does is grab offensive rebounds. He corralled 19 total this season in 79 games. So it was an incredibly pleasant surprise to see him crashing the glass Saturday, and get in perfect position to grab the KG miss next to Jason Kidd. Terry had the board, and a chance for an easy putback or simply hold the ball for the final possession of the quarter. That’s what it seemed like anyway.
Unfortunately, Kidd wasn’t the only one surprised by Terry’s sneaky move on this play. The officials couldn’t believe it either. In fact, they were so surprised they whistled Terry for a loose ball foul on this play, even though it appears Terry barely breathes on Kidd during this sequence. Seriously, watch it a couple times: there’s no push in the back, no elbowing, barely any body contact. The Jet simply gets into good position and grabs the board.
Somehow, this was a foul and it was a major swing since the Celtics were in the penalty. Instead of potentially adding to their five-point edge, Kidd got two freebies on the other end, and closed out the quarter within three points of Boston.
Did it cost the Celtics the game? Nope, they gave it to the Knicks themselves. That doesn’t leave me not questioning this play though, a seemingly unexplainable whistle. Were people as baffled as I was watching this in real-time? In any case, the officials owe Terry one. He owes his teammates one too.
In the meantime, any reasonable explanations for this play are welcome.