When Nikola Mirotic went up in the air and drew that foul on Tonye Jekiri, it was one of two things.

Player of the Game
Nikola  Mirotic
EFF
26
Nikola Mirotic
Points 28
Accuracy 6-13
Rebounds 3
Assists 1

It was a miracle for FC Barcelona, a super-smart play for Mirotic, a disaster for Jekiri, and a tough blow for UNICS Kazan.

Or it was great acting by Mirotic, a horrible mistake by referee Damir Javor and an unfair situation for coach Velimir Perasovic.

You can choose sides depending on who you cheer for, but I am leaning towards the second option.

With UNICS up 94-91 and with 16 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, Jekiri was defending against the current top-scorer and PIR leader in EuroLeague, Mirotic.

Jekiri put his hand on Mirotic, and he immediately reacted, going up in the air and making an impression of contact. The referee standing nearby, Javor, called a foul in the act of shooting and awarded Mirotic three free throws.

Barca's leader sank all three freebies and forced overtime, in which the hosts prevailed 111-109.

But was there a shooting foul in the first place? BasketNews consulted with refereeing experts, who wished to remain anonymous, and their opinion was unanimous - it was not a shooting foul.

You could argue, one referee said, that it was a non-shooting foul, but that is also questionable.

Simply put, Mirotic should not have been awarded three free throws. Two, at best, but not three.

Why did coach Perasovic did not challenge this? Well, because he could not.

EuroLeague introduced a coach's challenge rule before this season, and there are 16 distinct types of actions that coaches may challenge through the Instant Replay System, but fouls are not subject to this.

The only foul-related action that can be challenged is to determine whether it was a two or three-pointer.

It is a very different coach's challenge definition compared to the one used by the NBA.
The first type of action that NBA coaches can challenge is foul. And if the challenge is successful, NBA referees are entitled to cancel the foul or even give it to the opposing team.

This cannot be done in Europe, and the question is if the coach's challenge in EuroLeague is practical at all. The referees themselves usually double-check the actions that can be disputed.

In this case, neither the referees nor the coach could change this. And it's something that should be discussed in EuroLeague offices to make the game even more transparent.

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2022-01-10
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Barselonos FC Barcelona
Kazanės UNIKS
53%
29/55
Field goals
47%
36/76
39
Rebounds
28
19
Assists
16
7
Steals
15
46%
11/24
3-pointers
45%
13/29
0
Blocks
1

Best players

Nikola  Mirotic
28 PTS
6/13 FG
13/13 FT
Lorenzo  Brown
27 PTS
8/19 FG
7/8 FT
FC Barcelona
Few players
6 REB
Lorenzo  Brown
7 REB
5 DREB
2 OREB
Nicolas  Laprovittola
8 As
4 TO
24 MIN
Lorenzo  Brown
9 As
4 TO
36 MIN
Nikola  Mirotic
26 EFF
50% 2P%
43% 3P%
Lorenzo  Brown
33 EFF
44% 2P%
40% 3P%