CHICAGO -- Anybody still fuming about the emotional conclusion to the Bulls' overtime loss to the Nuggets on Monday night probably has forgotten about the statement the NBA issued Jan. 18.
Acknowledging an official's error, the league said Joakim Noah's foul on Raptors forward Amir Johnson with 1 second left in overtime and Toronto trailing by two points should have been called as a shooting foul. Instead, the Raptors inbounded, Jose Calderon's 3-pointer missed and the Bulls prevailed on that Jan. 16 night in Canada.
That's not to say Johnson would have hit two free throws to tie or the Bulls still wouldn't have won or that the league's competition committee -- in light of what happened Monday -- may seek to tweak its video review policy this offseason. It is to say memory can't be selective when it comes to tough calls.
And the fact the NBA didn't issue any statements acknowledging official error on Tuesday means the Bulls, as angry as they are, probably are even when it comes to those tough calls.
Of course, the Bulls don't see it that way, particularly when they maintained in a discussion with league personnel Tuesday that no official signaled offensive interference on Noah when he tipped home Marco Belinelli's miss for what appeared to be the winning basket on Monday.
Officials had said video review couldn't be used to overturn what could have been called as offensive interference on Kosta Koufos' tip-in with 46.4 seconds left because no call originally had been made. That's what made the Bulls so irate when Noah's basket was overruled.
But even if the Bulls couldn't see an official signal offensive interference and claim the Nuggets' protest prompted the video review that overturned Noah's tip-in, replays do show lead official Ken Mauer walking straight to the scorer's table. And two people from the official scorers' crew that sits at the table said Mauer indicated he had made a call.
The Bulls vehemently claimed they neither heard nor saw any call made, thus the video review shouldn't have been allowed. And the Bulls watched replays from every possible angle from the United Center and didn't see any call signaled either.
"They called basket," Noah said.
As for the ability to review whether baskets are 3-pointers or not or shot-clock violations after the fact, those are isolated plays that don't affect what comes next. In fact, officials nullified an Andre Miller third-quarter basket at the next stoppage of play because they ruled it came after the shot clock had expired.
But hypothetically speaking, what if, say, Noah had blocked Koufos' putback attempt and it led to a breakaway layup for the Bulls? If video review is expanded to allow officials to look at calls that aren't made to get them right and, in this instance, they rule Koufos' putback attempt is in fact offensive interference, officials then would have to negate the Bulls' breakaway layup.
For what it's worth, Noah's tip-in of Nate Robinson's miss on the possession after Koufos' tip-in was similar -- outside the cylinder but still close to contact with front of the rim -- and was allowed.
Perhaps the video review policy could be amended when the competition committee meets next season to allow officials to monitor close calls on made baskets, even if no call originally is made on the floor. That's a point Thibodeau made in eloquent, if emotional, fashion late Monday.
"I asked them about Koufos' play and they told me because they didn't make the call they couldn't review it," he said. "If that's the rule interpretation, which it is, they're right. But my point is: At that point of a hard-fought game, that's why we have video review, to make sure we get it right. So we review one and we don't review the other?"
In the meantime, the Bulls need to shed the difficult loss as quickly as possible and prepare for the Trail Blazers on Thursday at the United Center.
"We have to pick ourselves up," Thibodeau said. "We made mistakes that need to be corrected. We're headed down the stretch now. We have to get it right."
(c)2013 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services