Suns star Devin Booker should not have been on the floor for the final stretch of Wednesday night’s Game 4.
Booker, who finished Phoenix’s 109-103 loss with a game-high 42 points, picked up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter and should have been called for his sixth with three minutes and 40 seconds remaining in regulation. With Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday driving directly at him on a fast break, Booker turned into a linebacker, hitting Holiday across the arm and wrapping him up around the waist.
ABC analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy both noted that it was an obvious missed call when the broadcast showed multiple replay angles.
Fortunately for the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo grabbed the offensive rebound and finished with a layup, and Milwaukee went on to outscore Phoenix 33-21 in the final frame on its way to victory. Still, uh, what the hell were the referees watching on that play?
In a postgame interview with pool reporter Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Game 4 crew chief James Capers explained why he didn’t blow the whistle:
McMenamin: With 3:38 left in the fourth quarter, Jrue Holiday went up for a layup and it appeared as though there was significant contact from Devin Booker and there was no call made. Was there enough contact for a foul to be called?
Capers: During live play, I saw a clean sweep of the ball and thought it was a no call. However, after seeing the replay, I now realize that I missed Booker’s right arm around the waist of Holiday, and it should have been a defensive foul on the play.
Well, that was an extremely generous interpretation of “clean sweep.” At least Capers didn’t make the situation worse for the NBA by attempting to defend the no-call.
Holiday was also asked about the play during his postgame media availability, but he chose to take the high road.
Let’s just say it for Holiday since he won’t: Yep, you got fouled, buddy.