The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics 82-81 on Monday night. And while pretty much everyone acknowledges that, just by virtue of keeping it close on the road, the Sixers probably deserved their win, the end result didn’t come without controversy.
With 12 seconds remaining on the clock and Boston down by three, Rajon Rondo held on to the ball and waited for Paul Pierce to get open. Theoretically, Kevin Garnett was supposed to set a pick on Andre Iguodala, and then Rondo was supposed to dish to a freed up Pierce who in turn would sink the game-tying jumper. Only that play never got the chance to materialize. As Garnett tried to set a pick on Iguodala, the officials whistled him for an offense foul.
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After that sequence, it was over. Free throws were shot and the Celtics tried to stretch out the game, but it was to no avail. Philly stole one on the road, and now they head home in very good position to ultimately go up 3-1 before they have to return to Boston.
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The question on everyone’s minds now is: should that offensive foul have been called? Nobody really disagrees that an offensive foul was committed; rather, it’s just a matter of whether officials should blow the whistle at that late juncture in the game.
While reasonable people can admittedly disagree on this topic, it’s hard to make a strong case against the offensive foul there. Sure, you want to see players play out the last few seconds sans interruption from the refs, but not at the expense of quality officiating. If a foul was committed, a foul should be called. That same foul being called or not being called previously doesn’t matter.
Of course, that's probably not the opinion being expressed by most Boston folk on this fine Tuesday.