NBA says late foul should have been called in favor of Bulls DeRozan in Tuesday's loss to Clippers

DeMar DeRozan successfully predicted the future after Tuesday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, saying the NBA would admit a foul should have been called when he lost the ball in the final minute.

Sure enough, when the league's last two-minute report was released on Wednesday, it said DeRozan was fouled by Clippers guard Reggie Jackson and should have been awarded 2 free throws with 38.7 seconds remaining. The Bulls trailed by a point at the time.

The last-two minute report also said the Bulls should have been called for a five-second violation on their final inbound attempt, which ended up in a turnover anyway. But more on that later.

It's easy to lose count, but this is at least the fifth late-game call that went against the Bulls this season that was ruled incorrect a day later.

In the second game of the season at Washington, DeRozan should have shot 3 free throws for the win, he was fouled with no call on a game-winning attempt against Cleveland, the refs missed a traveling call and free-throw violation a few days later against the Cavs, and DeRozan should have gotten a 3-point play opportunity late in a loss at Indiana last week.

The first three mistakes played a significant role in the outcome, the one in Indiana not as much, and it's hard to tell what would have happened against the Clippers. If DeRozan made 2 free throws, the Bulls would have had a 1-point lead. As it was, they fell behind by 3 when Norman Powell hit a pair of free throws on the other end, then the Bulls lost the ball on the ensuing inbound play.

"No matter how you lose, it stinks," DeRozan said after the game. "Clearly it was a foul, it just stinks that they wake up tomorrow and read the last two minute report and something else will be missed that possibly could have cost us the game, that's the more frustrating part."

The turnover on the late inbound pass was troubling, because that's happened twice in the past week. The Bulls also turned it over late in a close game at Indiana.

From an outside perspective, it's always hard to tell what was supposed to happen. But in Tuesday's game, the biggest issue seemed to be the Bulls taking too much time to get the play started.

Alex Caruso already had the ball in his hands before Zach LaVine cut from under the basket, past a double screen set by DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic at the foul line. Once LaVine got to the top of the key, Clippers' forward Nic Batum jumped out on a switch.

At this point, no one was open and the clock was ticking, so it looked like DeRozan and LaVine both improvised, but ended up in the same location. Caruso put the ball sort of in between the two, it was knocked away and stolen by Kawhi Leonard.

Keep in mind, the NBA said the Bulls should have been called for a five-second violation, so Caruso was getting anxious to unload the ball.

"I think there was probably just a little miscommunication on our part of who the ball was intended for," Caruso said after the game. "For the most part we ran the play we were supposed to run. We just didn't execute the screening aspect of how they were guarding it. They were switching everything, so maybe we could have screened better or broke open better."

Added LaVine, "I just tried to break my cut off, because Batum switched out. They switch a lot. We could have did something that was a little different or just tried to obviously get the ball in. Alex made the right play."

The Bulls had different problems in the Indiana game. LaVine was the inbound passer on the first attempt, couldn't get it to Vucevic and called time out. He didn't see Caruso breaking open under the basket.

After the time out, Caruso was the inbound passer and had Vucevic open, but his pass was deflected by Buddy Hield and stolen.

The Bulls' quest to get back to .500 is not going well, but they'll play three straight home games against teams with losing records - Charlotte, Portland and San Antonio. The problem is, they then go right into a tough three-game road trip at Memphis, Brooklyn and Cleveland.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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