Donovan Mitchell’s miraculous field goal Monday night shouldn’t have counted, NBA says

CLEVELAND, Ohio — NBA history shouldn’t have been written on Monday night.

At least, that’s what the NBA said after the video review of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 145-134 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls.

According to the NBA Last Two Minutes Report – the league’s assessment of officiated events that occurred in the last two minutes of games that were within or within three points at any point in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter (and overtime, if applicable) — there were two incorrect calls. Both in favor of Cleveland.

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Most notable and controversial came in Mitchell’s record-breaking comeback — a remarkable layup after a missed free throw that gave him a franchise-record 58 points and sent the game into OT.

With 4.6 seconds remaining and the Cavs trailing by two points, Mitchell deliberately missed his second freebie, rushed to the lane, collected his own rebound in the air, and turned around in the basket.

A league review of that play on Tuesday afternoon showed Mitchell had crossed the plane of the free throw line before the ball hit the basket – a violation of NBA rules.

Mitchell should have been called for a lane violation, nullifying the basket, keeping the Cavs behind by two and putting Mitchell at 56 points – one of his career high and Cleveland’s single-game record that was previously shared by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.


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Because the three-person officiating team – Tony Brothers, JB DeRosa and Suyash Mehta – allowed the game to play in real time without a whistle, Mitchell’s magic moment counted and the game went into overtime. , where Mitchell scored 13 more points, bringing his tally to 71.

He became the seventh player in NBA history to score 70+ points in a game – and the first since Phoenix Suns swingman Devin Booker on March 24, 2017. Mitchell’s 71 points are tied with Elgin Baylor and David Robinson for the eighth-highest single-game total in NBA history. This is the most points scored in the NBA this season. Mitchell’s previous regular season record was 46, reaching that number three times with the Jazz. He scored 57 in the Bubble.

According to the NBA, none of this should have happened.

The only other incorrect call to appear on the report for the past two minutes came moments earlier. With Cleveland down 128-125 and just over 10 seconds remaining, Mitchell drove right of lane and dished to center Jarrett Allen under the hoop. The streak ended with Allen’s hook in the lane that cut Chicago’s lead to one point.

Only Allen should have been called for a trip.

The league said he lifted and replanted his pivot foot before releasing the ball. Had that game been settled correctly, the Bulls would have been in possession with a three-point lead.

The last two minutes report evaluates all notable calls and non-calls. Under the league’s definition, notable no-calls are generally defined as material plays directly related to the outcome of a possession. Similar to instant replay standards, there must be clear and conclusive video evidence in order to determine that a play was improperly officiated. In this case, the two failures are qualified according to these parameters.

However, nothing changes in the official record books. Impossible to rewrite history. The Cavs still won. Mitchell still joined the 70-point club. And he still became the Cavaliers single-game scoring record holder, passing James and Irving.

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