“He got a piece of the elbow,” Said Jimmy Butler, who went to the free-throw line with 0.9 seconds after the refs called a foul on Marcus Smart. “People are going to say `oh, he didn’t foul him,’ but he did. So at the end of the day they made the right call.
“A foul’s a foul. He hit my elbow. I don’t care what nobody says. I think I’m making it if he don’t alter it like that.”
Although a single lighted frame from one of the three replays in the video above does seem to show Smart’s fingertips touching Butler’s elbow on his game-winner attempt, I can’t imagine one of the three refs, especially the baseline one (not the sideline one standing next to the shot), being able to tell enough contact was made to warrant a foul that would decide which team will win.
“I’m one of the best defenders in this league,” Smart said. “I played great defense right there — I know I did. I moved my feet, I did everything right, my head was up. I got punished for playing good D I guess.”
Smart’s teammate, Isaiah Thomas, also agreed it was great defense.
“We won this game,” Said Isaiah Thomas, who broke John Havlicek’s franchise record with 41 consecutive games with at least 20 points. “We had it won. A great defensive stop by Marcus Smart and the referee called a horrible call. That was bad.”
The Bulls Taj Gibson probably had the best quote about the game: “”Tonight we got lucky. That’s a talented team over there. We’re going to enjoy this one.”
At least Thomas can enjoy having Butler on his team for the following 48 hours in New Orleans.