Referee David Guthrie said he shouldn't have upgraded a foul assessed to Heat center Kelly Olynyk to a flagrant 1 with 6:56 remaining in an eventual Raptors win.
"At replay, in my judgment, I felt like that did meet the criteria for a flagrant foul," Guthrie told pool reporter Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. "After reviewing that more postgame, and thinking about it a little bit more, to me, it now is more of a natural basketball play going for the ball and that the contract really did not rise to the criteria of a flagrant foul."
Olynyk attempted to swipe the ball out of Kyle Lowry's hands during the play in question but inadvertently struck the Raptors guard in the face. Referee Tre Maddox called it a foul on the floor, but Guthrie upgraded it to a flagrant 1 after watching the replay, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The teams were tied 92-92 at the time of the foul after the Heat erased a 17-point deficit. Lowry converted both of the ensuing free throws and the Raptors retained possession. Serge Ibaka then scored two consecutive field goals to give Toronto a six-point run.
Miami was unable to tie the score again as the Raptors won 107-103.
A flagrant-1 foul is assessed to a player when he makes contact against another player that is "interpreted to be unnecessary," according to the NBA rulebook. A flagrant 2 is awarded if the contact is deemed "unnecessary and excessive," in which case the offender is immediately ejected.
With the loss, the Heat are now 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami will have a chance to gain ground on the Celtics when the two teams square off Tuesday.