NBA referee explains controversial call at the end of Suns-Jazz game

2023-11-20 13:33

NBA referee Zach Zarba explained that the clear and conclusive evidence that Durant got to the basketball first was the key to the decision not to call a foul on Utah Jazz star Lauri Markkanen.

Credit: AP-Scanpix

Sunday's night double-overtime thriller between the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns ended up in a controversy.

With 0.9 seconds left in the 2nd overtime, Lauri Markkanen attempted a game-tying 3-pointer, but the officials whistled a foul for Kevin Durant.

However, the Suns head coach, Frank Vogel, used his coach challenge, which turned out victorious, as the referees decided to overturn their initial decision, and the game finished with a 140-137 win for the Suns.

Player of the Game
Kevin  Durant
Kevin Durant
Points 39
Accuracy 14-27
Rebounds 8
Assists 10

"In our opinion, there was clear and conclusive evidence that Durant made legal contact to the basketball, blocking the shot first. That's why the challenge was ruled successful," Crew Chief Zach Zarba said in the Pool Report interview.

After being asked whether the off-hand contact, shooting hand, and landing space were reviewed during the challenge, Zabra confirmed it was precisely the case.

"Yes, we reviewed both of those aspects of the play. But the clear and conclusive evidence that Durant got to the basketball first was the key here. Making everything after it was marginal, in our opinion," Zabra added.

Markkanen also shared his view of the situation, admitting he didn't know exactly why the call was made initially.

"I think he got the ball, but he hit my left arm, and that's what I thought they called foul," Markkanen said after the game. "Then I saw the replay, and I didn't even know if they are looking at body contact, or I started looking to see if I was inbounds in general."

"I mean, that's the decision they made, I have nothing for it. But it's annoying to lose a game like that," added Markkanen.

Meanwhile, Durant believes he did everything right.

"It was ridiculous to even call that," Durant said about the final possession. "I knew I blocked the shot, and I knew I didn't touch him at all."


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