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#pounditMonday, July 15, 2024

NBA doubles down on terrible call at end of Heat-Jazz game

Haywood Highsmith defending Lauri Markkanen

The NBA is admitting wrongdoing for an awful call in the Miami Heat-Utah Jazz game on Saturday … not.

Miami was leading Utah by three points with less than ten seconds left in the fourth quarter. Jazz big man Lauri Markkanen pulled up for a long-range attempt to try to tie the game but badly airballed it … only to get bailed out when lead referee David Guthrie whistled Miami forward Haywood Highsmith for a phantom foul.

Take a look at the video.

Markkanen would make all three free throws to tie the game at 126. But the Heat got a supreme “Ball don’t lie” moment when Tyler Herro proceeded to go the length of the floor and hit an off-balance three-pointer off one leg to win the game for Miami at the buzzer.

On Sunday, the NBA released their last two minute report for the game and actually doubled down on the dreadful foul call. They stated that Highsmith had “reache[d] in and initiate[d] contact with Markkanen’s left arm during his upward shooting motion” (per Heat writer Ira Winderman).

The only possible argument is that Highsmith slightly grazed Markkanen’s arm on the way up before pulling away (as one clip on Twitter indicated).

But even so, any contact was minimal at best and clearly did not merit a whistle in such a game-altering moment. It is especially so since Miami was already called for a three-shot foul on Utah’s previous offensive possession and since the subsequent whistle put Markkanen, an 85.1 percent career free throw shooter, at the line for another three attempts.

Of course, this is all a moot point since the Heat won the game anyway (and didn’t even need overtime to do so). But the league’s referees are not making themselves look good with a series of sketchy moments these last few weeks.

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