SALT LAKE CITY — What the Utah Jazz’s 111-110 loss to the Miami Heat lacked in defense, it more than made up for in controversy.
Following the win-streak-busting defeat, the Jazz and their fans were upset with two things that happened late in the loss.
For one thing, the home team thought it should have had more than 3.9 seconds on its final possession, a pill that was bitter to swallow after Rudy Gobert’s putback bucket was waved off because it was tenths of a second too late.
For another, it appeared that Jazz forward Joe Johnson was fouled by Heat guard Tyler Johnson while time remained on the game clock after Gordon Hayward missed his game-winning attempt with one second left.
Jazz guard Joe Ingles tried to plead his team’s case after the buzzer to no avail.
Seconds later, Quin Snyder erupted at referee crew chief Ed Malloy as he made his way off the court. Two assistant coaches restrained Snyder as the Utah coach vociferously made his point and tried to move toward Malloy.
Snyder was clearly still upset by the way the game ended, but he calmly avoided saying anything fine-worthy in his postgame press conference.
“There was a number of things late in the game that were a little bit confusing,” Snyder said. “We got a shot. Rudy got a putback that was after the buzzer. And ”
As the coach paused, a Jazz PR official moved the interview along by saying, “Next question.”
Miami took a timeout with 13.2 seconds remaining and the shot clock showed that eight seconds remained. Hayward was credited with a steal on Goran Dragic, and the refs gave Utah a timeout after Ingles secured the ball and called for a 20-second break.
Instead of reviewing the play to determine how much time should be on the clock, the referees left the game clock at 3.9 seconds. There could have been at least 4.3 seconds on the clock, however, if a shot-clock violation had been called.
According to the official play-by-play report, though, Miami’s possession didn’t start until James Johnson grabbed a rebound with 27.9 seconds left.
"We haven’t gotten an explanation on anything — the shot clock, the game clock," Snyder said. "We thought there was more time on the game clock on the last possession."
Malloy granted an interview request after the game, but he told a pool reporter that the refs couldn’t have done anything about it.
“Yeah,” Malloy said, “we don’t have a trigger that allows us to look to see if a timeout occurs prior to the expiration of a shot clock.”
Malloy refused to answer a question about why a foul wasn’t called on Johnson’s behalf.
It was a rough way to end a game that the Jazz had to play without four key players — George Hill, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks — because of injuries.
“I think somebody got grabbed. I didn’t see it, but I think it was supposed to be five seconds or so,” Gobert said. “I think we got a pretty good shot and an offensive rebound, but not enough time.”
Gobert’s tweet after the game was a bit more jaded than his comments.
“It still amazes me,” he wrote, “that those kind of things happen in the best league in the world...”
Hayward said he’d like to have the shot he took “a hundred times out of a hundred.”
Hayward’s response when asked what having an extra second or so could’ve done: “It allows you to take an extra dribble, take maybe two or three dribbles, but that’s not something that I can necessarily control. I can control what happens when I get the basketball.”10 comments on this story
All of this would've been trivial had Hayward sank his shot.
"It didn't feel great," Hayward said. "I hung on to the ball a little bit longer. I had to wait for (James) Johnson to fly past me and that forced a more difficult shot. I’ve got to hit one of the last two shots, the three. I’ve got to hit one one of those, so it’s on me."
Snyder didn't blame Hayward.
"We got the ball in our best player's hands going to the basket," the Jazz coach said. "I don’t know if we’d do anything different than that."