Referee admits foul ‘should have been called’ on Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving late in Game 2

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) celebrates after making a 3-point shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Friday, May 24, 2024, in Minneapolis. (Abbie Parr/AP)

The Dallas Mavericks are up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals thanks to the heroics of Luka Doncic, but it appears they may have gotten away with one late in Game 2.

With the Timberwolves up two and just 47 seconds remaining, Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving appeared to knock the ball out of the hands of Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels. The ball was originally called out of bounds off Irving, but the Mavericks challenged the call.

The review revealed that McDaniels was the last player to touch the ball, and the call was overturned. The Mavericks then received the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.

However, according to the post-game pool report conducted by the Star Tribune‘s Chris Pine, referee Zach Zarba revealed that Irving should’ve been called for a foul on the play.

“During the game, we felt it was a normal out-of-bounds play and that’s what was ruled,” Zarba told Pine. “… Post-game review, we did see illegal contact from Irving to the forearm of McDaniels that should have been called a foul.”

Because the Mavericks had already challenged the play for an out-of-bounds ruling, NBA rules do not allow the Timberwolves to challenge the same play for a missed foul.

It was a massive blow to the Timberwolves’ chances to win Game 2, as a foul called in that spot would’ve sent McDaniels to the line with a chance to put Minnesota up two possessions with 47 seconds left.

Instead, Doncic would eventually bury the dagger with just three seconds remaining, and the Timberwolves now find themselves in a 2-0 hole heading to Dallas.

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