BOSTON -- As the Bulls started climbing back from double-digit, third-quarter deficit -- closing to within three points early in the fourth quarter in Game 7 against the Celtics on Saturday night -- I couldn't stop thinking about Ben Gordon's 3-pointer that was incorrectly ruled a 2-pointer way back in the first quarter.
It's a good thing the NBA got that one right.
Gordon lost the ball, and the crowd roared for a double-dribble, before he launched a 3-pointer that should've given the Bulls a 14-6 lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter. The game offcials called it a 2-pointer, much to the chagrin of the Bulls bench.
TV replays showed Gordon was clearly behind the 3-point line and should've been credited with three points. The referees reviewed the video during a timeout with 3:37 left in the quarter and inexplicably let the 2-point shot stand.
The way this series had gone, it seemed inevitable that Game 7 would come down to the thinnest of margins -- that being one meaasley point. Then the Bulls did what you expected them to do. They trimmed what had been a 12-point deficit late in the third quarter to three points, 81-78, early in the fourth.
Uh-oh. What a shame it would've been for this epic, classic series to end with an officiating controversy -- especially after the Board of Governors earlier this season had voted to expand the use of replay review to determine whether 2-point and 3-point baskets had been judged correctly on the court.
With 5:44 left in the game, the public address annoucer at TD Banknorth Garden informed the crowd that Gordon's first-quarter shot had been reviewed and changed to a 3-pointer. The extra point actually had been added to the scoreboard after the third quarter, but hardly anybody noticed. After the initial review by the game officials, the Bulls apparently called the league office to protest the ruling. Good thing they did -- especially if Game 7 had gone down to the wire like five of the other six games in this series.
See, it all works out in the end. Most of the time.