For every game that’s within five points at the 2:00-mark, postseason or not, the NBA analyzes the final two minutes and issues a report on the officiating the next day.
The two main points of contention for both sides were handled accurately, according to the league. When Dwyane Wade went for the game-tying layup with 4.5 seconds left, taking contact from Cody Zeller and Courtney Lee, he did not get the foul call. The Hornets objected to Wade’s play on a breakaway layup by Lee, contending that it was goaltending because Wade hit the backboard with his hand while the ball still had a chance to go in.
On Wade’s play, which came with Miami trailing 90-88, Zeller made body contact meeting him at the rim and Lee hit his shooting arm.
“Zeller comes towards Wade from across the restricted area, planting his foot and jumping vertically to defend Wade’s shot,” the report stated. “Zeller absorbs contact when it occurs and, while his arms are not completely vertical, multiple angles confirm they do not make contact with Wade. Therefore, Zeller maintains a legal guarding position as he attempts to defend the shot.
“Lee makes contact with the ball during Wade’s upward shooting motion, which makes his subsequent, minor arm contact with Wade incidental. Lee then makes contact with Wade’s arm again at about 00:04.9, however, Wade has already lost possession of the ball.”
As for the potential goaltending by Wade, the league stated that “Wade legally contests Lee’s transition layup attempt. Wade does not touch the ball and his contact with the backboard does not affect the ability for the ball to score.” If Charlotte wanted a foul on the play, the NBA said, “Wade makes incidental body contact with Lee that does not affect his shot attempt.”
The league studied 23 calls and potential calls and determined that 21 were made correctly. The only errors were a missed 3-seconds call on Hassan Whiteside with 1:49 remaining and a foul away from the ball by Luol Deng during Charlotte’s inbounds pass with 2.3 seconds left.
The inbounds at the end was Miami’s other main frustration. The Hornets inbounded the ball to Cody Zeller, and the Heat were trying to stop the clock with a foul. Deng’s foul, if it had been called, would have given Charlotte a free throw and retention of possession. Once the ball was passed in to Zeller, the league said Deng and Josh Richardson actually made contact with each other instead of intentionally fouling Zeller.