Home > Miami Heat, Offensive foul, Philadelphia 76ers > Heat vs. 76ers (Game 1): Wade pushes off with leg on big basket and gets away with it

Heat vs. 76ers (Game 1): Wade pushes off with leg on big basket and gets away with it

A big no-call occurred in the Miami-76er game today. Miami was leading 90-87 with about 1:36 remaining when Dwyane Wade drove to the basket, went airborne, extended his leg to create separation between himself and Thaddeus Young, scored and Young was called for a foul.

What should have happened is that Wade should have been called for an offensive foul, with the 76ers getting the ball. But instead ref Bob Delaney (#26) blew the call, and the basket and penalty free throw basically sealed the win for the Heat.

The rulebook clearly states:

A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by extending a hand, arm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal. Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately.

In another part, it states:

An offensive foul shall be assessed if the player initiates contact in a non-basketball manner (leads with his foot, an unnatural extended knee, etc.).

You’ll hear analyst Jeff Van Gundy reference this fact somewhat, but he didn’t seem quite sure if using the leg to create separation is legal or not. At first he said it could “easily be construed” as a foul, then later compliments Wade for creating nice separation with his leg. Maybe he was being sarcastic on the second remark. Not only could it be construed as an offensive foul, it SHOULD be a foul based on the rulebook’s language.

It would have nice if fellow ref Sean Wright (#65), who also had a decent angle on the play, had come over to Delaney to correct him and let him know it was an offensive foul on Wade, then have the refs wave off the basket and the foul. But you’ll never see that happen on a play like this, especially when you have a legend like Delaney making a call like this in front a boisterous home crowd going crazy (in a good way) after the foul call.

What’s a shame is that Delaney did a good job NOT calling a foul right before Wade extended his leg when there was incidental contact between Wade and Young on Wade’s drive. We absolutely hate it when refs call ticky-tack fouls when contact is negligible, and the rulebook even states that refs have discretion in determining what’s incidental or not. So good for Delaney for not calling a foul on the incidental contact.

But when a player extends his leg to create separation, that goes too far. Too bad it had an effect on the outcome of Game 1 of what will be a very entertaining series.