What Happened Last Night: Boston Squeezed By Utah, Kansas Lucked Out Against Iowa State
You want to know what happened last night? A whole lotta basketball, as per usual. Oh, and controversy.
Paul Pierce went Paul Pierce on Utah, secured the win in overtime.
With 36 seconds left in the game, Paul Pierce hit an elbow jumper to put Boston up two; he crawled to his favorite elbow spot, pump faked his defender in the air and nailed the jumper. It was quintessential Pierce from his quintessential spot, wearing his quintessential scraps of facial hair. But then, Utah: Ty Corbin couldn’t help but give the ball to Gordon Hayward on the team’s final possession, and it almost backfired – Hayward isn’t the strongest of ballhandlers, and the Celtics late-game ball pressure had Hayward flailing and falling everywhere. Still, he managed to awkwardly squeeze into the lane and find a cutting Alec Burks, who snuck the ball towards the rim with a lefty scoop layup to tie it at 97-97.
The final possession of regulation was more Paul Pierce doing Paul Pierce, this time scampering over to the right elbow, spinning inside, pump faking, spinning outside, and nearly connecting on a fadeaway jumper with DeMarre Carroll all over him. In overtime, an Al Jefferson jumper that plopped in off the front rim and a defensive stop had the Jazz down three on their final possession. Except Kevin Garnett fouled Paul Millsap, putting him on the line with 4.2 seconds so he couldn’t tie the game. Millsap hit both free throws, Courtney Lee answered back with two of his own on the other end, and a desperation three by Randy Foye at the buzzer fell short as Boston picked up the 110-107 win.
Kansas slipped past Iowa State with a bit of help from the refs.
By the end of overtime, Elijah Johnson had pulled Kansas away from Iowa State and secured a 108-96 win, due in large part to his 39 points. But the lasting memory of this game stems from the end of regulation, Kansas trailing 90-88 with five seconds remaining. When Johnson drove to the hoop to tie the game, Iowa State’s Georges Niang stepped in to draw a charge. The replay, however, clearly shows that Niang’s feet were set – he had drawn a charge. Except officials didn’t see it that way, and instead put Johnson on the line for two shots, both of which he nailed to send the game to overtime. Worst of all, the foul called wasn’t a block; it was a hold, after Johnson’s shot had missed and the players scrambled for the loose ball. The Big 12 will review the play, as they do with all referee performances, and has yet to admit that the wrong call was made.