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Jazz, Pelicans again the subject of Last Two Minute Report drama, NBA admitting officiating failures

SHARE Jazz, Pelicans again the subject of Last Two Minute Report drama, NBA admitting officiating failures

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert reacts after committing his sixth foul, during overtime of the team’s NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The Pelicans won 138-132.

Gerald Herbert, AP

NEW ORLEANS — What is a professional sports league to do when one of the better games of the year has the stain of questionable officiating and controversy marring the narrative?

The NBA’s answer is to release a next day review of some of the officiating that determined the outcome, resulting in fanbases and teams stewing in a vat of what could have been and the fact that nothing can be done to change what has already been written in stone.

For the second time in less than two weeks, the NBA has admitted its failures in officiating Utah Jazz-New Orleans Pelicans battles.

Thursday’s Last Two Minute Report owned up to three mistakes from the Pelicans 138-132 overtime win over the Jazz, a game that snapped Utah’s 10-game win streak.

Interestingly, the most controversial call of the night, a foul on Rudy Gobert committed against Brandon Ingram with 1:19 left in the overtime period, has the most vague explanation in the report.

For those that aren’t familiar, the Last Two Minute Report is the NBA’s attempt at officiating transparency and accountability. Every day, the NBA releases the report, which includes games played on the previous day that were within three points during the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

The report reviews officiated calls and notable non-calls and gives a ruling on whether the in-game decisions by the officials were correct.

The main event and most bizarre portion of the Last Two Minute Report from Thursday’s game is the note included for the play that happened with 1:19 left in overtime.

On the night of, it was like deja vu, a scene straight out of last week’s game. Ingram drove, Gobert defended. This time, the officials whistled for a foul on Gobert. Jazz coach Quin Snyder, Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, most media members and anyone else who saw the replay of the play in question was certain that the wrong call was made.

Snyder challenged the call and after review, the officials determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call. The foul was Gobert’s sixth and final foul and without him on the floor, the Jazz were taken advantage of in the final moments of the game.

The report, bizarrely, does not actually comment directly on the foul that supposedly occurred during the play in question, instead commenting only on the coach’s challenge review and designating the play as CC for correct call.

“The replay review of the foul called on Gobert (UTA) pursuant to coach’s challenged was deemed unsuccessful because there was not conclusive evidence to overturn the call based on Gobert being late to the spot and turning when he makes contact with Ingram (NOP),” the report reads.

This means one of two things. Either the NBA is refusing to comment on and review the foul that is allegedly committed, or with all of the camera angles, technology, slowed frames and knowledge of the officials who review the plays for the report, it was impossible for anyone to determine whether or not a foul was truly committed.

It’s a strange stance to take in the one place where officiating transparency is supposed to be on display for the NBA.

But don’t worry, there were also two missed traveling violations — one by each team — that the officials admit they missed. So that makes things better, right?

Last week, the league’s Last Two Minute Report found that Gobert fouled Ingram on the last play of regulation, a play that, had Ingram been successful or a foul been called on Gobert and ensuing free throws been made by Ingram, would have sent the game into overtime.

This time, the report was not so straightforward.

The first notable point in the report is the call that forced overtime. With 0.2 seconds remaining and no chance for the Jazz to get a shot off, only a sliver of hope for a tip-in from an out-of-bounds lob, the officials called a foul on rookie Jaxson Hayes for holding Gobert as the ball was being passed in.

Gobert hit 1-of-2 free throws which tied the game and forced an extra period.

“During the inbound pass, multiple players engage to establish positions,” the report reads. “Gobert (UTA) reaches forward and initiates contact with Hayes (NOP), who briefly takes his arm and lets go. There is a lot of contact among all of the players, with no single action that stands out as dislodging or impeding an opponent.”

Upon review, the report says that no foul occurred on the play, which means that barring a miracle tip-in situation, the Jazz would have lost Thursday’s game in regulation had the correct call been made in real time.

Does that mean that everything that came after this call is just icing on the cake, or is it something more like cake that was accidentally dropped on the floor but everyone has to eat it anyway?