NBA world blows up over ‘horrific’ call
A nightmare The Portland Trail Blazers have suffered a horrific blow, losing a 117-114 game to the Utah Jazz, despite a horror call from officials.
With the game in the balance at 116-114 with 19.5 second left, an inbound ball went to Damian Lillard, who had been tearing up in the league and he did it all himself.
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Lillard got the ball in the back court, brushed past Joe Ingles and tossed up what should have been the game tying layup.
But it was knocked away by the Jazz's Rudy Gobert only after it bounced off the backboard, which should have been a goaltending call and would have tied up the game.
ESPN commentator Ryan Ruocco erupted over the missed call.
"Lillard splits the D, drives and it looks like it should have been a goaltend. It should have been a goaltend. No call. That absolutely looked like it should have been a goaltend."
After watching the replay, it was clear the call was most definitely wrong.
"Clearly a goaltend," Ruocco said.
Doris Burke added: "As soon as it hits the window, you can't get it off that. This one hurts if you're Portland because it's obvious and you've competed so hard."
The Blazers had one more shot to tie the game, but the three point attempt from Caleb Swanigan bounced off the rim and saw the Jazz escape with the victory.
But Lillard's frustrations were still boiling over as he began to explode in the direction of the officals while being held back by security.
After the game it was revealed the Blazers players had received word from the officials the shot attempt "wasn't even close" to a goaltend.
As @CHold reports, sources say Portland players were told by officials that Damian Lillard’s layup attempt “wasn’t even close” to a goal tend. One of the most horrific no-calls you’ll ever see.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 8, 2020
Post-match, NBC's Jamie Hudson asked crew chief Josh Tiven if it could have been challenged.
Talked w/ tonight's referees. Here's the question I asked: Was Lillard’s shot reviewable for a goaltend, and if so, why was it not reviewed?— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) February 8, 2020
"No, it was not reviewable, since no goaltending call was made on the floor. Goaltending is only reviewable if we actually call it."
Of course that statement didn't sit well with Lillard who took to Twitter, saying "We don't wana hear this punk A** s***".
The moment at the end of the game overshadowed what was another sublime performance from the Portland point guard who went off with 42 points, six rebounds and six assists.
But it was the blown call and Lillard's post-game explosion which stole the show.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Lillard this heated. It’s a shame to have a game end like it did.— Orlando Sanchez (@orlandokgw) February 8, 2020
Social media was just as heated as the All-Star guard and couldn't believe the officials had missed such a blatant decision.
I’ve known @Dame_Lillard since his predraft workout in Portland. I have never, EVER, seen him as mad as he was in the postgame locker room. Pure, uncut anger.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) February 8, 2020
Lillard was furious post-game, savaging the referees to the media.
"It cost us the game, man," he said. "All night, they're double-teaming me, trapping me, trying to be physical, I shot three free throws the whole game. I'm telling them they are grabbing and holding the whole game - that's fine.
"We get to the last play of the game and they miss an easy call. Then they tell us it's an easy no call, like that's obviously not a goaltend. It cost us the f***ing game, man."
Fans are pushing for the star not to be fined for the outburst but it has once again shone an unflattering light on the NBA referees.
Further heightening the ugly ending was Utah Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen who tweeted out a clock malfunction in the latter stages of the contest. A call the officials should have made, but once again missed.
Another addendum to this crazy Jazz/Blazers game: a clock malfunction occurred at the 1:43 mark of the 4th... a whole possession went untimed. pic.twitter.com/SzQkKZhx16— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 8, 2020
Lillard's teammate CJ McCollum made sure media remembered it was a missed call, and said "it was very costly for us".
"It cost us the game, we can't get it back, we're competing for a playoffs spot," he said. "If you miss a call, that's one thing, I just don't like the explanation I got, the explanation I got really p***ed me off, because there are three of you out there so if one of you doesn't see it, the other two are supposed to be in position to see it so for someone to say 'it wasn't even close' and 'it may have been obvious to you, but it wasn't obvious to us' it just makes me think you're not capable of doing the job the way you're supposed to be able to do it. You should be reprimanded, you should be fined accordingly - when we make mistakes, we're fined and they cost us a game that could cost people money so they should be fined accordingly because that's terrible. Not just bad, terrible."
More from tonight's NBA referee comments on if Lillard's shot could've been reviewed for a goaltend:— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) February 8, 2020
“We’ve since looked at it, via postgame, video review, and unfortunately saw that we missed the play and a goaltending violation should’ve been called.”
Hard to miss a call worse than officials did on a Gobert goaltend of a Lillard drive and lay-in in final seconds of a brutal loss. Back-to-back at altitude in Utah, bench depleted — just a hellacious end. Orlando on Thursday, Portland tonight. Sloppy run of NBA officiating.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2020
That was some BullS$&@$ right there. This @trailblazers vs @utahjazz game, this last play by @Dame_Lillard was a CLEAR GOALTENDING. How the hell are you an official and you miss that call. Lillard was absolutely right to be pissed. Horrible....Horrible miss!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 8, 2020
I will defend the NBA till the end but that is an absolutely egregious missed call on the goaltend, royally screwed @Dame_Lillard ... not a good look at all— Darien Harris (@DHarris_45) February 8, 2020
I rarely, if ever, comment on officiating. That no-goaltending call on Lillard layin late at Utah was egregious. NBA refs simply have to be better. Crazy how all 3 didn’t see something so obvious.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) February 8, 2020
Hi, yes, I’d like to report a crime. Yes, the Blazers just got ROBBED.— Taylor Tannebaum (@TaylorTannebaum) February 8, 2020
In related news, Damian Lillard is unreal. 42 pts in this L that shouldn’t have been an L.
I'm not sure if the missed call alone would be enough for the league to grant a protest, but the clock malfunction first noticed by @andyblarsen just might.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) February 8, 2020