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NBA affirms James Harden fouls, says refs missed 2 Celtics travels

The NBA's last-two-minute report confirmed that the offensive fouls drawn by Boston's Marcus Smart against Houston's James Harden late in the Celtics' comeback win Thursday night were correct calls but identified uncalled travels before Boston's final two baskets.

The report states that Smart should have been called for a travel with 10.4 seconds left before passing to Jayson Tatum for a dunk and that Al Horford illegally moved his pivot foot with 6.8 seconds remaining before hitting the game-winning basket.

Harden was called for a pair of offensive fouls with 7.3 seconds and 3.0 seconds remaining, for pushing off on Smart while trying to position himself to catch an inbounds pass.

In both instances, the report states that, "Harden dislodges Smart from his legal guarding position."

Harden vented about the officiating after Houston blew a 26-point lead in the Rockets' fourth consecutive loss. He specifically questioned how the league could allow a game to be officiated with a two-man crew, which occurred because referee Mark Lindsay injured his back during pregame warm-ups, leaving Tony Brothers and Gediminas Petraitis to work the game between two of the league's top teams.

"First of all, I want to know, how do you only have two officials on a national TV game? That's the first question," said Harden, who had 34 points, shooting 7-of-27 from the floor and 15-of-15 from the free throw line.

Harden's first offensive foul allowed Boston to take its only lead of the game with 3.7 seconds to play. The second prevented Houston from having more than a last-second heave after Boston rallied from 26 points down for a 99-98 triumph at TD Garden.

"A lot of grabbing, a lot of holding," Harden said. "I mean, how else am I supposed to get open? Guy has two arms wrapped around my whole body." Added Harden: "It's just tough. You can't have two officials in a professional game. There's a lot of no-calls that need to be called, because that changes the dynamic of the game."

The report also states that Horford should have been called for a lane violation on PJ Tucker's missed free throw with 18.7 seconds remaining and identified three other uncalled traveling violations against the Celtics in the final minute, although the first three were not on possessions that ended with a Boston score.

Author: Tim McMahon, ESPN

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