MIAMI – Not only did the NBA agree with the illegal screen called on Heat center Hassan Whiteside that led to the Kings’ game-winning basket Thursday, but the only missed call in the last two minutes was a missed foul by Whiteside that should have resulted in a Sacramento free throw.
The league’s Last Two Minute Report confirmed that ‘Whiteside (MIA) sets the screen on Fox (SAC) without giving him room to avoid the contact,’ with 21.9 seconds remaining. The Kings gained possession on the foul, which was Whiteside’s sixth, and De’Aaron Fox’s put back dunk off a Bogdan Bogdanovic miss with 3.3 seconds gave the Kings’ an 89-88 victory and capped their comeback from a 12-point deficit in the final six minutes.
Whiteside said following the game that Heat coaches “reviewed” the call and told him it was “a great screen.”
“I don’t know what I did,” he said. “I set a great screen. The coaches reviewed it. They said it was a great screen. That’s how I’m taught to screen. It’s funny, you hit a guy, they fall over. C’mon man, you can’t make that call at the end of the game. It wasn’t an illegal screen.”
As Goran Dragic held the ball just over midcourt, Whiteside run up from his spot at the top of the circle to set the screen on Fox. Whiteside leaned forward into Fox knocking him to the ground. Official Haywoode Workman blew the whistle and Whiteside turned toward the bench, bending over with his hands on his knees before extending his arms as if to ask, “What did I do?”
The foul was Whiteside’s sixth, marking the first time he fouled out of a game this season.
But that sixth foul should have come sooner, according to the report. Fox scored on a driving layup with 1:38 remaining on a play in which ‘Whiteside makes contact to Fox’s head’ but no call was made. The basket was good and Fox should have been rewarded a free throw on what would have been Whiteside’s sixth foul.
The Heat had one last chance to avoid the stunning loss after Fox’s game-winner but Josh Richardson missed a contested 21-foot jumper at the buzzer.