NBA’s Last 2 Minute Report denies Bulls’ Zach LaVine’s foul claim

Zach LaVine said that Delon Wright told him, “I got you.”

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report disagreed.

The daily slice of drama from the league’s officiating office said that Wright legally challenged LaVine as LaVine surprisingly eschewed a 3-point attempt to drive for a midrange jumper in the waning seconds of the Chicago Bulls‘ 100-97 loss to the Washington Wizards.

The official wording: “Wright (WAS) makes clean contact with the ball and then retracts his arm from LaVine’s (CHI) path to avoid follow-through contact during the drive.”

LaVine had tied the game at 97-97 with a dramatic 3-pointer that narrowly beat the 24-second shot clock. But, following a Kyle Kuzma 3-pointer, LaVine took an inbounds pass and shot from inside the 3-point line as time expired. The Wizards had a foul to give before entering the penalty and replays indicated that Wright pointed to lead official Rodney Mott as if to expect a whistle, emphasizing that any contact was on the floor rather than during LaVine’s shooting motion.

LaVine also said that Mott told him he missed the call. When asked whether that meant Mott didn’t see the foul or made an erroneous call, LaVine said he didn’t know.

“Rodney just said he missed it,” LaVine said late Wednesday in Washington. “I could’ve up pulled up deep from 3. But once I walked into it and (Wright) tried to grab me, I just tried to throw the ball up. . . . They were intentionally trying to foul. (Wright) looked at me and said, ‘I got you.’”

Instead, the NBA backed Mott’s no-call.

The Bulls have landed on the wrong end of the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report on three occasions this season. Twice, the report stated that DeMar DeRozan should’ve headed to the free-throw line for potential game-winning free throws when officials missed fouls on game-winning field-goal attempts. In the third instance, the league said officials should’ve whistled Donovan Mitchell for a lane violation on his dramatic putback that forced overtime and ultimately led to Mitchell scoring 71 points in a Cleveland Cavaliers’ victory.

Late Wednesday in Washington, LaVine also emphasized that the game shouldn’t have come down to the mercy of a last shot or potentially missed call. The Bulls blew a 13-point halftime lead against a Wizards team playing without its two best players. With DeRozan missing his first game of the season, the Wizards outscored the Bulls 41-21 in the third quarter.

“There are plays throughout the whole game that could go either way, not just in the last 2 minutes. I think obviously you want those calls to go your way. But you can’t bet on it. You’d rather win without having that Last Two Minute Report,” LaVine said. “I’d rather win by six or seven points and not have to look at the L2M Report. But that’s basketball. It sucks. It can go either way. That’s the way it is.”

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