Bulls Insider

Billy Donovan predicts missed call on Mitchell putback


When the NBA releases its Last Two Minute Reports on Tuesday, Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan is convinced his team will be left with yet another consolation prize.

One day after the league ruled that Caris LeVert should have been whistled for a shooting foul on DeMar DeRozan in the Cleveland Cavaliers' one-point regulation victory on Saturday night at the United Center, Donovan believes Donovan Mitchell committed a lane violation on his game-tying putback of his own missed free throw with 3 seconds left in regulation.

Mitchell scored a franchise-record 71 points Monday night as the Cavaliers prevailed in overtime. It's the most points scored by an opponent in Bulls franchise history dating to 1966 and dropped them to 1-4 this season in overtime, with seven other regulation losses by five points or less.

Donovan didn't absolve Patrick Williams of missing his assignment to block out Mitchell, who sank his first free throw after Ayo Dosunmu intentionally fouled him because the Bulls were up three, Mitchell was red-hot and the Cavaliers were out of timeouts. But Mitchell purposely missed the second free throw and replays clearly showed him entering the lane and crossing the free-throw line before his attempt hit the rim.

"Listen, it's been two games in a row," Donovan told reporters in Cleveland. "DeMar obviously got fouled the other night against them. And I think the Two Minute Report will come out and say he crossed the line. I could be wrong and if I'm wrong, I'll apologize. But at least what I saw on film, it made it hard for Patrick to block him out because he was certainly across the free-throw line before the ball hit the rim. And if that's the case, it's a violation. And my question would be: Who is looking at that? And again, if I'm wrong, then I'll apologize and say I was wrong. But that's what the rule is so clearly we're going to see that in the Two Minute Report.

"It doesn't do anything. 'We're sorry.' But it could be three games now. It could be at Washington, it could be the other game and it could be this game. And that's unfortunate because I felt our guys battled and competed. And again, we have to control what we can control. Obviously, we gotta block out better regardless of the situation. We know they're going to miss. We gotta go in there and get it done. Whatever it is in the last game, we have to overcome things. I'm just a big believer in that. I think a lot of times you can look around and look at what everyone else is doing wrong rather than looking at yourself and what we can do better. Clearly, there's a lot we can do better. So I'm going go dwell on that too much."

The Washington game that Donovan referenced is the Bulls' two-point loss to the Wizards in the second game of the season on Oct. 21. The following day, the league's Last Two Minute Report ruled that DeRozan was fouled on a 3-point attempt to win the game.

Making Monday night's turn of events even more painful to process is that officials whistled Alex Caruso for two lane violations earlier in the game.

The Cavaliers also attempted an opponent-season-high 45 free throws, with Mitchell shooting 20-for-25 from the line.

"I want to go back and look at the film because I think just overall the game and just watching it live was to be honest hard to watch at times. It really was," Donovan said. "The thing I'm anxious to see is the consistency of the fouls. I very, very rarely argue a call for another team. But when our guys are getting fouled, I'm going to try to fight for them. But I think the free throw was a huge, huge factor in the game.

"DeMar got to the free-throw line. But we clearly didn't get to the free-throw line as much as Mitchell. That was a big issue."

DeRozan attempted 12 of the Bulls' 34 free throws. Donovan drew a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing a no call as DeRozan drove and appeared to be fouled.

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