NBA admits refs blew call in Raptors-Bulls game

Raptors fans can’t wipe the loss out of the record books but at least they received what amounts to a formal apology from the NBA league office.

The NBA announced Friday that its officials made the incorrect ruling on a much-disputed call in the closing seconds of Chicago’s 107-105 overtime win over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.

With the Bulls leading by two and 3.3 seconds remaining in overtime, the Raptors inbounded the ball to forward Amir Johnson, who was defended on the play by Bulls center Joakim Noah. As Johnson drove hard to his right and turned the corner into the paint, he lost his balance and fell to the court, heaving up a shot in desperation. Noah appeared to ride Johnson on the drive with his right arm and then slapped down with his left hand across Johnson’s body as Johnson prepared to shoot.

The referees on the court whistled a foul but determined that it had occurred prior to Johnson entering his shooting motion, meaning Johnson wasn’t awarded free throws. An NBA review of the play determined that was the incorrect call. Video of the play can be viewed on NBA.com.

“Officials called a foul on Chicago’s Joakim Noah as Toronto’s Amir Johnson gathered the ball while driving to the basket,” the NBA said in a statement. “The officials ruled the foul was on the floor but upon review at the league office, the video replay confirmed that the foul should have been called a shooting foul with Johnson receiving two free throws.”

The Raptors proceeded to inbound the ball with just one second remaining, and a Jose Calderon three-pointer missed at the buzzer, delivering Chicago its road win.

The NBA previously admitted a blown call during a 98-97 Raptors loss to the Bobcats on Nov. 21. In that game, a review determined Andrea Bargnani should have been awarded two free throws with 2.4 seconds left for a foul by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist that wasn’t called.

Johnson, 25, is a career 70.6 percent free throw shooter. He’s shooting 70.4 percent from the line on the season.

Chicago now stands at 22-15; Toronto is 14-25.

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