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The Celtics and Raptors will play Game 7 tonight.But Boston came quite close to winning the series earlier.The Celtics led by two points in the final second of Game 3. But Toronto perfectly executed the game-winning play – Kyle Lowry making a brilliant pass, OG Anunoby drilling a 3-pointer. Otherwise, Boston would’ve taken a 3-0 series lead, which has never been overcome.
Up 3-2, the Celtics also had opportunities to end the series in a double-overtime Game 6. However, a two late incorrect calls favored Toronto, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.That wouldn’t have necessarily given Boston a win. As Lowry and Anunoby showed in Game 3, Toronto didn’t need much time to score on a last possession.
But with Walker – who made 86% of his free throws this season – at the line for two attempts, the Celtics very likely would’ve won with a correct call.
After dropping Games 3 and 4 in their second-round NBA Playoffs series with the Toronto Raptors, the Celtics earned a hard-fought statement win in Game 5. Boston can eliminate the reigning champions Wednesday night when the sides meet for Game 6 inside the Orlando bubble.
The winner of this series between Atlantic Division rivals will move on to play the Miami Heat, who only needed five games to knock off the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
The NBA also said Raptors coach Nick Nurse didn’t commit a violation when crowding the court and potentially inducing a Jayson Tatum turnover:
Coaches may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. Coach Nurse’s (TOR) presence in the corner is not illegal and he does not directly interfere with the play.
If a coach getting that close to the action is allowed, the rule should be changed. It’s not safe. It’s not basketball.
The female coronavirus tester who allegedly entered his hotel room reportedly said she had contact with Tyson Chandler and another Rockets player but not House. House missed Games 3 and 4 of Houston’s series against the Lakers. Chandler missed Game 3 then got cleared.
The league has information that one of its contracted COVID-19 testing employees entered the Rockets’ Grand Floridian Hotel late night on Monday and has based its investigation of House on “door data” which showed House’s hotel room door opened sometime in those hours.
The woman, however, implicated Rockets center Tyson Chandler and another player and not House, the individual said. Chandler was cleared by the NBA investigation on Wednesday. The information on the other player was deemed not credible.
People with knowledge of the situation, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the ongoing investigation, said that the Rockets were “blindsided” by the NBA’s decision and that there had been little direct communication between the league office and team officials and Houston had received no formal presentation of evidence. Instead, communication continues between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.
“The NBA is treating [House] as guilty until proven innocent for safety reasons,” said one person with knowledge of the situation. “They’re prioritizing their perception of safety over everything else. The NBPA feels its hands are tied. Any time [the union] talks about due process or presumption of guilt, [the NBA] immediately says, ‘Safety, safety, safety.’ There has to be some limit or balance.”
“If it was a star player, there’s no way [the NBA] would handle it this way,” said a person close to House with direct knowledge of the investigation. “They want to make an example out of somebody.”
These are all reasonable concerns – safety, due process, fairness. It’s difficult to balance everything.
Meanwhile, the Rockets-Lakers series is proceeding. Which means something must give. So, far it has been House’s availability.
Safety is often cited when denying someone due process. Sometimes, that’s reasonable. Often, it is not.
House is a helpful role player in Houston’s micro-ball system. But he is far from a star. Would a star get treated differently? It’s impossible to know for certain. Despite rumors to the contrary, no direct evidence has been presented of widespread bubble violations. But the NBA’s lack of transparency makes it more difficult to give the league benefit of the doubt.