The Celtics made headlines Thursday with a 127–102 win to even the Eastern Conference finals, but their big victory hasn’t stopped fans from debating a thrilling yet controversial play that took place early in Game 2.
The sequence in question occurred around the 3:30 mark of the first quarter after Marcus Smart, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, stole a pass from Heat guard Tyler Herro, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. As Smart took off down the floor and gathered for a layup, Herro jumped with him and swatted his attempt of the glass, causing Smart to tumble to the floor.
Instead of walking away with a clean, chase-down block, Herro was instead called for a foul, much to the chagrin of the Heat faithful.
The shocking call caused quite a stir inside FTX Arena and on social media shortly thereafter. Evidently, commentators Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy were also a bit confused by the whistle, as well.
”That looked like a spectacular defensive play, instead the whistle and two free throws,” Breen said as Heat fans protested the call.
“Well, that didn’t look like a foul at all. This is a great job by Herro. … man, what a play,” Jackson retorted before JVG co-signed his take.
As a player more known for his offensive prowess, Herro has surprisingly given the series one of its early signature plays with his sensational defensive effort. It’ll be intriguing to see what others may follow as the series continues.
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