I literally couldn’t believe my eyes.
In the 1 minute span of time between the actual play, my yelling at the screen and the replay, I was spending every ounce of energy I had trying to rationalize what had transpired. Then when the replay flashed across my screen, I grew even more disgusted.
With under 10 seconds on the clock and the Lakers inbounding the ball, clinging to a 1 point lead, Ron Artest aimed a pass within arm’s reach of Derek Fisher. The defender, Wesley Matthews didn’t just reach around Fisher. Matthews didn’t get accidentally tangled with Fisher, tripping him up as an unintended consequence.
Matthews tackled him.
In a defensive sequence that wouldn't even be allowed in the NFL, Matthews wrapped his arm all the way around Fisher’s waist prior to the start of the play and pulled him down to the hardwood as the ball sailed in their direction. The Jazz recovered the possession while Fisher, helplessly buried under Matthew’s body, watched the ball bounce into the hands of Kyle Korver.
Yet there was no call.
Though the Utah Jazz are notorious for the benefits they receive while enjoying home court advantage, this one takes the cake, the ice cream and the bridesmaids too. What really makes the non-call even more surprising is that aside from the occasional ticky-tack foul calls, the game had been fairly well officiated throughout.
Following the "steal" by Korver, the Jazz missed both shot attempts, a Deron Williams jumpshot and a Wesley Matthews tip-in attempt. Both shots were poorly defended and were excellent looks, but karma seemed to take over the defensive possession for the Lakers in stopping the Jazz from taking advantage of their gift-wrapped opportunity.
Now the Lakers hold command of an insurmountable 3-0 series lead and are only five wins away from their third Finals appearance in three years.