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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

NBA admits to big mistake on play that decided Cavs-Nets game

Donovan Mitchell committing a lane violation

The NBA is admitting to dropping the ball on the decisive play of Thursday night’s Cleveland Cavaliers-Brooklyn Nets game.

The Nets led 114-113 with 11.6 seconds left in the contest and Cavs star Donovan Mitchell at the line for the second of two free throws. Mitchell’s attempt fell short, but he ran in from the line to keep the ball alive, and it eventually squirted over to Cavs teammate Caris Levert. In the chaos that ensued, Levert managed to hit Isaac Okoro in the corner with a skip pass, and Okoro sank the game-winning three-pointer for Cleveland.

It was a huge victory for the Cavs but not necessarily an entirely clean one. The NBA admitted in Friday’s Last Two Minute Report that Mitchell should have been called for a lane violation on the game-deciding play (as he crossed the plane of the free-throw line before the ball hit the rim).

Mitchell’s early encroachment into the lane directly created the scramble situation that led to Okoro’s three. Granted, it is tough to tell if Brooklyn would have been able to hang on for the victory if not for Mitchell’s lane violation (Cleveland had a timeout left and it still would’ve been a one-possession game even if the Nets had hit two more free throws). But Mitchell’s uncalled infraction certainly aided his team’s cause there.

That result could end up having a monumental impact on the East playoff race. While the Cavs seem all but locked into the No. 4 seed, the Nets would have been 40-33 with a win on Thursday (above the 40-34 Miami Heat and just one game behind the 42-33 New York Knicks for No. 5). Instead though, Brooklyn is now 39-34, which has them behind the Heat for the No. 6 seed and currently in the play-in tournament zone. That is a really tough break for a Nets team that has already been through some significant drama this season (the latest being this new development).

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