NBA says Marcus Smart's steal on Damian Lillard was clean

Well, if it's any consolation Boston fans, the NBA admits Marcus Smart and the Celtics were swindled by the referees on Saturday night against Portland.

In the daily NBA officiating last two minute report, the league decided that Smart did not, in fact, foul Portland's Damian Lillard when he swiped it out of his hands and put in the go-ahead layup with just over 10 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Instead, they say this:

The replay shown on the DF BCAST shows Smart (BOS) makes clean contact with the ball.

Fancy, right? The NBA also included a video of the play. Seemingly, it was pretty obvious on replay that it wasn't a foul, but refs can't just take that back in real time. Even in the moment, though, Marcus Smart says he knew it was clean:

It's hard to say the C's could've squeezed out the win had that layup counted. The Blazers would have had 10.8 to go only down by one, and they had three timeouts left, so they could have advanced the ball. But, it's nice to imagine that the Celtics finished the week 2-1 rather than heading to Washington on a two game losing streak.

Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Getty Images/