Porzingis, Tatum puzzled by late-game clock issue in Celtics’ loss

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Porzingis, Tatum puzzled by late-game clock issue in Celtics’ loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics did plenty to beat themselves Monday night in Charlotte. But it appears the officials didn’t help their cause in the final seconds of overtime.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum had a chance to tie the score after the Hornets fouled him shooting a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds and Boston trailing by three. Tatum made the first two free throws but missed the third, and the Celtics tried to foul Hornets forward Miles Bridges after he secured the rebound.

The foul appeared to occur with about 3.0 seconds remaining, but the Spectrum Center clock ran for at least a full second before stopping at 1.7 seconds. (Check out the sequence at the 3:52 mark of the video below.)

That extra second proved costly: Boston fouled Gordon Hayward on the subsequent inbound pass with just 0.8 seconds remaining and couldn’t attempt a shot on the next possession, sealing a disappointing 121-118 loss.

Several Celtics players signaled to the officiating crew to initiate a replay and put more time back on the clock after they fouled Bridges, but play continued without a review. After the game, C’s big man Kristaps Porzingis shared his perspective on what went down.

“I think there definitely should have been more time (on the clock),” Porzingis said, via The Athletic’s Jay King. “I guess the whistle was late, that’s why the time kept going. I don’t know, they had some explanation but it was during the game and I was like, ‘OK, it just looks like we’re going to keep going.’”

Tatum was similarly miffed that the officials didn’t review the play.

“I mean, I thought too much time came off the clock, but I guess they couldn’t go back and look at it,” Tatum said. “I don’t know.”

Even if the clock mishap took away a final chance for Boston, it wasn’t why the Celtics lost this game. They led by as many as 18 points and had a nine-point lead with 2:20 remaining in regulation before falling apart down the stretch.

Free throws may have been the biggest culprit in the collapse: Jrue Holiday had a chance to ice the game in regulation with the C’s up by two and 10 seconds remaining but missed both free throws, leading to LaMelo Ball‘s game-tying layup at the other end.

“There definitely should have been more time on the clock I felt like, but we had many opportunities to finish it out before that and we didn’t,” Porzingis added. “So we cannot blame it on that small detail that happened.”

The Celtics will get a much-needed day off Tuesday before gearing up for a showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at TD Garden, with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston.

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