The final moments of Game 2 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in the second round of the NBA playoffs felt about as tense as NBA basketball can get. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clutch plays from great players deciding the outcome in the closing seconds. It was two majorly questionable calls by the referees.
The Heat walked away with a 116-114 win to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, but not before the refs made themselves the story of the night.
The first questionable call happened when Goran Dragic was called for a foul on a Khris Middleton three-pointer with the Bucks trailing by three with five seconds left. Dragic stayed on his feet and raised his arms to contest Middleton’s shot, but was whistled for a shooting foul. Middleton would knock down all three free throws to tie the game.
Miami called a timeout and inbounded the ball at halfcourt. Jimmy Butler took the inbounds pass near the left corner, sized up Wes Matthews, and fired a jump shot as the final buzzer sounded.
Miami was the better team for the entire night and deserved to win the game. It never should have been this close. The victory puts Miami in prime position to pull a major upset in the second round of the playoffs against a Bucks team that was widely presumed to make the Finals.
Jimmy Butler deserves so much credit for his selfless play on both ends of the court. Dragic has been excellent in both games so far and led Miami with 23 points in Game 2. Erik Spoelstra is putting together a convincing case he’s the best coach in the NBA.
Yet as Game 2 ends, all anyone wants to talk about is the refs. Miami was good enough to win without their help on Wednesday. It’s a shame the game had to be decided this way.