There's missing a call, and then there's this.
Down the stretch of Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, Suns guard Devin Booker, already playing with five fouls, clearly fouled Bucks guard Jrue Holiday while he was going up toward the basket after a transition opportunity, but no foul was called. There was obvious contact on the play, and the whistle absolutely should have been blown as a result.
You can see the play below:
If the call was made correctly, Booker would have picked up his sixth foul and would have been forced to the sideline for the remainder of the contest. Instead, he was able to finish out the game, and he even went on to score two more baskets after the play in question.
Following the game, crew chief James Capers admitted that there should have been a foul called on the play which would have disqualified Booker from the remainder of the contest.
"During live play, I saw a clean sweep of the ball and thought it was a no call," Capers stated. "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."
Luckily for Milwaukee, the lack of the call didn't hurt the Bucks on that particular play -- Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to convert Holiday's miss into a basket -- or on the final scoreboard, as Milwaukee was able to pull out a 109-103 win to even the series up at two games apiece. Antetokounmpo's putback pulled the Bucks within one point, 95-94, and then they outscored the Suns 14-9 down the stretch of Game 4 to secure the win.
Had Booker, who finished with a game-high 42 points and set an NBA record along the way, gone on to propel the Suns to a win down the stretch, the referee's mistake would be a much bigger deal, but it's still an egregious missed called nonetheless. NBA referees need to be better than that, especially in the closing moments of Finals games.