The Boston Celtics were beat by the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night in the second game of their seven game series, but quite a few fans in Massachusetts have seemingly decided to put an asterisk next to the Boston loss. The asterisk is because, if the officials had not blown their whistles on Kevin Garnett when he was screening for Ray Allen, the game's outcome likely would have been altered.
Garnett clearly set an illegal screen -- both the video evidence as well as the poll results here confirm that -- but one question remains: Should an off-the-ball play with just seconds left on the game clock help decide the outcome of a game?
Our friend Jeff Clark over at SB Nation's CelticsBlog, who likely isn't the most biased observer but is an astute basketball mind, gave his opinion on the game-altering call Tuesday morning.
Like holding calls in football, there are moving screens on every other play in basketball and yes, the Celtics are among the worst at it. I'd be shocked if they didn't teach it to their big men in training camp. However, it would seem to make more sense for the officials to start calling that earlier in the game instead of all of a sudden in the final minute or two.
Was it a moving screen? No doubt. Was it the right time to make that call? Well, let's just say I was surprised and leave it at that.
In all honesty, that's a perfectly acceptable answer. Moving screens "on every other play" might be taking it to the extremes, but there are probably more illegal screens that aren't called throughout the course of the average than those that are caught and called. That doesn't make the late-game whistle a bad one, however, especially since the officials had already established with Garnett that his illegal screenery wouldn't be tolerated.
Note to Boston fans: Refs didn't "suddenly" call KG moving pick "out of nowhere." Got called for similar shove at 7:45 of 4th.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_SI) May 15, 2012
The reaction from everyone over the next few days will likely be mixed, but it seems that the officials didn't get it wrong -- though it's understandable that the opponents of the call would rather see refs get it right quite a bit more often before blowing their whistle with the game on the line.