Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says Max Strus' overturned 3 in Game 7 to provide 'case study' for league

MIAMI -- As the Miami Heat digest a "heartbreaking" 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Erik Spoelstra and his staff believe that a momentum-changing overturned call in the third quarter will provide a "case study" for the NBA as far as replay reviews go moving forward.

The call in question came with 11:04 remaining in the third quarter, when Heat guard Max Strus knocked down a 3-pointer deep in the corner that cut the Celtics' lead, which had been as many as 17 earlier in the first half, to 56-54.

After several minutes of game action -- during which the Celtics put together another run of their own -- the call was overturned by the NBA replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Spoelstra admitted he was "in shock" after the points were taken off the board.

Spoelstra also said he didn't immediately see the replay of the call in question, which appeared to show Strus' feet just touching the out-of-bounds line.

"I was in shock," Spoelstra said. "I was asking [assistant coach] [Chris Quinn] about that. The fact that it happened, three to four, five minutes in game time, that does change the context of how you're playing. We were starting to gain some momentum.

You feel like it's a seven-, eight-point game and you look up and it's a 13-point game, and there's no other explanation for it other than it's gone back to the league offices. You feel like if it happens like that, it should happen immediately and you can adjust accordingly."

Despite his frustration with the timing of the overturn, Spoelstra made it clear several times that that was not the reason the Heat lost the game.

"Look, that's not the reason we lost," he said. "We still had plenty of opportunities. We just couldn't get control of the game. A lot of that was Boston. We didn't stop grinding and we gave ourselves a shot at it at the end. We just couldn't make enough plays during the course of the game. It felt like most of the game we were grinding from an 8- to 10-point deficit."

Moving forward, Spoelstra knows the play in question will be discussed in future league meetings.

"I'm sure they will look at that, and we'll probably be the case study for it," Spoelstra said. "I'm OK if it happens the way it used to. They would look at it at the next foul or break and look at it and notice it, but it was probably 10 minutes of real time -- somebody check on that.