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Jason Terry’s Phantom Foul Call


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.


  • Eddie

    There is no explanation. Just a terrible call.

  • http://sergijoseph.com Sergi

    trust me, u were not the only one baffled.. I couldn't believe it myself..

  • http://twitter.com/KWAPT @KWAPT

    Well done BRobb

  • hydrofluoric

    JET comes from behind Kidd and gets it. When rebounding, refs have a huge tendency to favor the guy who has established position (as opposed to the guy who leaps over the one in position to grab it). It's a pretty iffy call but nothing particularly strange.

    And overall, I didn't really have an issue with the officiating (on the whole) this game. I think we got the benefit of the whistle a bit early on, and it swung the Knicks' way in the second half. Is what it is.

    • Josh_5

      Kidd never had position. Terry took the perfect angle and had position AND possession.

  • The Scotsman

    This was a 4 point swing. Instead of going into the 4th quarter up by 7, we were only up by 3. Add in the RIDICULOUS travel call against Green when Melo CLEARLY fouled him on his drive and that's 2 more points. Also, the Melo drive when they called a foul on KG when he went straight up AND hit all ball. That's 2 more points. The refs did their fair share of helping NY in this game.

  • CA-celticfan

    Yes it was horrible…but the celtics lost the game…lets see what bs the refs pull out tonight.

  • IBleedGreen

    blaming the refs is getting old in the NBA…try something different

  • michaelmarlow

    It was a horrible call, probably the worst call of the game. Unfortunately there were a lot of horrible calls, so one can quibble. Those include some of the ones pointed out above, but also ones against the Knicks (such as two of Pierce's charges taken which were bogus). I wish I could blame the officiating for the loss, but I don't think they made the Cs basically throw the ball away or directly to the Knicks 6 or 7 times this game.

    So we got beat, but I understand Brian's frustration with this call. There is no basis for a foul, it seems inexplicable which is why it sticks, not to mention that it came later in the game (end of quarters also seem to stick out as more "pivotal" whether they are or not). My only guess is that the ref didn't see the play or just saw it out of his peripheral and thought he had to call something. It was a play on. I think we have some decent refs for game 2 (Rodney Mott, David Jones), so hopefully both teams get a fairly called game.

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