What Happened Last Night: A Controversial Ending To Nuggets-Bulls, Miami Extends Streak To 23
Seriously: you missed an insane night of basketball.
Joakim Noah tip-in disallowed, Bulls lose.
With the game in overtime and the Bulls trailing the Nuggets 119-118, Marco Belinelli drove left and hoisted up a baseline fadeaway. The shot, as you can see in the below video, was short. Well short. But in flew the ever-present Joakim Noah, who ever so slightly tipped the ball in with 1.8 seconds to go. But wait: isn’t that a goaltend, basket interference, or something else illegal? The refs thought so, and disallowed the field goal, giving Chicago the loss. Tom Thibodeau, naturally, lost it. We won’t get into it fully here, but Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney over at The Point Forward have a great explanation of the play: in short, because Belinelli’s shot still had an opportunity to go in the basket, and Noah’s hand made contact with the ball while it was above the cylinder, it is offensive basket interference and/or goaltending. There was also a question of the legality of the review entirely, because league rules only permit a review if offensive basket interference was called in the first place. All of which is to say, this was a crazy, crazy ending.
Miami has now won 23 games in a row.
The Miami Heat now officially own the second longest winning streak in the history of the NBA, surpassing the ’07-’08 Rockets’ 22-game streak with a 105-103 win in Boston last night. Down 17 at one point in the second quarter, it seemed like this would be the perfect narrative ending to the drama: the Boston Celtics, the perennial thorn in Miami’s side, once again poking holes in an otherwise historic season.
Jeff Green scored 43 points for the Celtics, but couldn’t convert when it counted. After a LeBron James jumper with 10 seconds remaining to put Miami up two points, Green drove to the basket on an isolation play against Shane Battier. Battier, however, stripped Green clean, knocking the ball out of bounds, and Boston could only managed a fadeaway Pierce three-pointer on the ensuing inbounds. So, 23 – which means 10 more until they tie the ’71-’72 Los Angeles Lakers’ 33-game winning streak. And with a bunch of cupcakes on their upcoming schedule, it doesn’t seem so impossible.