A non-call left some Wizards fans salty after their 106-101 loss to the Hawks, but according to the NBA it was correctly decided.
With 3.7 seconds left and the Hawks up 104-101 against the Wizards in Game 4, Atlanta struggled to get the ball inbounds against a desperate Wizards defense that knew that this was their last chance to avoid a loss. Atlanta had already burned a timeout after failing to get the ball into play and set up another play with Paul Millsap inbounding on baseline. Kyle Korver rushed toward the sideline off an Al Horford screen and caught the Millsap pass, but not before stumbling through several stutter steps and falling to the ground.
Korver finally got rid of the ball back to Millsap who was fouled with just .9 seconds left. Having no timeouts left, Millsap's next free throw ended the Wizards' small hopes.
But many Wizards partisans watching the game were left with a question: wasn't that a travel on Kyle Korver? Bradley Beal certainly thought so, saying, "yeah, but they didn't call it, oh well," when asked about the play after the game.
According to the NBA's report on the officiating in the last 2 minutes of the Wizards-Hawks game, the referees did the right thing in letting Korver's steps go without a whistle. Here's what the report had to say on the play in question:
"Korver (ATL) slides when receiving the inbound pass. Players that fall to the floor while holding the ball (or stopping) may not gain an advantage by sliding. No call is made as no advantage is gained."
It does seem to me that Korver gains the advantage of evading Otto Porter and managing to get rid of the ball before Porter can foul or steal, but clearly the league saw it otherwise. Either way, I don't think it was likely with no timeouts and 3 seconds left that the Wizards manage to tie the game, but I sure would have liked to see them try.
The report in whole is worth reading, including the finding that the officials both correctly didn't call a foul on Nene for for his screen on DeMarre Carroll that allowed Pierce to get an open look on the previous possession, and also that Carroll didn't foul Pierce after the shot. Interestingly enough, the only call that the report found questionable was the non-call on Kyle Korver for an illegal screen on this play late in the fourth. The report call this sequence an "incorrect no call", stating, "Korver (ATL) sets a screen without giving Nene (WAS) the opportunity to stop and/or change direction." This non-call probably had a bigger impact on the game than the non-call on Korver. Had the foul been called, Teague would not have hit the backbreaking 3 that gave the Hawks a 7 point lead with just over a minute remaining.
Who knows how things would have progressed from there, but being down 4 with 1:23 left and the ball would have been much better than being down 7 with 1:12 left. In any case, that's no excuse for the Wizards loss. The Hawks deserve a lot of credit for their strong play. On the Wizards side, you can blame the loss on giving up 65 points in the first half, lackluster performances from several key players and committing 17 turnovers on the night. Questionable calls aside, these are things that are in the Wizards control as they try to win a 3 game series starting Wednesday.