Home > Good calls, Good no-calls, LA Lakers, Loose ball foul, New Orleans Hornets, Refs fall for a flop > Hornets-Lakers (Game 5): Physical game results in lots of calls, flops and questions about the officiating

Hornets-Lakers (Game 5): Physical game results in lots of calls, flops and questions about the officiating

Obviously the best game on Tuesday was the Hornets-Lakers game since that series was tied up 2-2 going into it, and the other games (Atlanta-Orlando and Chicago-Indiana) ended up being blowouts without any calls that had a bearing on the outcome.

L.A.-New Orleans was physical that had lots of contact, and thus more questionable calls than we’ve been seeing lately from playoff games. The one foul that struck us was the one that TNT analyst Reggie Miller said “could easily have been a flagrant” was when Kobe Bryant came down hard on Emeka Okafor‘s head, not going for the ball, and seemed to keep his arm wrapped around Okafor’s head excessively as his neck was forced backwards. That play is featured at the end of the video around the 3:30 mark. Bryant only received a regular personal foul.

Surprisingly, it appeared that none of Okafor’s fellow players saw it because you would normally expect a teammate to come to Okafor’s defense and retaliate by giving Bryant a shove or something.

The following video shows fouls and calls (against and for) both teams, giving you the opportunity to make your own decision on if the calls and no-calls were correct or not. Note: we didn’t include the elbow that Marco Bellinelli received in the face because it looked fairly accidental.

  • Grimmz4764

    Flagrant 2? No way, flagrant 1? Probably. But then so was the foul in Game 4 where on a breakaway, Paul makes no attempt at the ball and instead puts his hands out to prevent Kobe from jumping by pulling down on his shoulders and incidental contact with Kobe’s head.

    • Tracy

      CP made a play for the ball on that one. Kobe had no chance of blocking that shot, or even getting close. And it was the way he came down with his arm and elbow on Okafor’s head that was excessive, then pulled down on it snapping Okafor’s neck back. Thug.

      • Grimmz4764

        CP made a play for the ball? Watch the clip again, it was physically impossible for CP to reach the ball from directly behind Kobe and he knew it, so he reached out and pulled Kobe down by his shoulders. The case that Kobe made a play for the ball is much more plausible, although I believe in both situations that they were intentional fouls. As for the thug comment, this is playoff basketball, and both Cp3 and Kobe are aware of that.

        • RB

          I think there was about 3 minutes left in the game with the Lakers way up, so there was some other motive to go after the ‘ball’ that hard, like sending a message of some sort. Anytime the head is in the vicinity, there should be extra care to not come down on it so hard, easpecially with one’s elbow that’s a very hard surface. You can really hurt someone like that, and is grounds for an ejection, especially late in a game that’s already decided. Maybe make it a Flagrant 1 if it’s early to not affect the outcome of a game, but in a game that’s already over, you bet.

          I think this is going to carry over to Game 6 when NOH will retaliate, which will get ugly. The refs could have avoided it by looking at the replay and tossing him. Now we might have a fight in Game 6. These refs kicked the can down thr road.

          • ChefJay

            I’ll say this – at full speed, that foul doesn’t look very hard. Looks much worse in slow motion. The refs didn’t watch a replay.

          • Grimmz4764

            I agree that it was probably a “message” foul, but I really don’t think it was as hard as you’re making out. If Okafor felt it was a dirty play, I would think that he would at least glare at Kobe or even step to him. Whether you like it or not, more contact happens and is usually allowed in playoff games. I expect NO to retaliate, and wouldn’t expect anything less; in fact, I would think less of them if they didn’t.

  • ChefJay

    I don’t see how you can say that Kobe wasn’t going for the ball. Watch the angle of the swipe – he starts up high but he’s too far behind the play so as he comes down he gets Landry’s head. I don’t see this as any more egregious than Chris Paul’s two handed swipe to Kobe’s head in Game 3. Pause the video at 3:33, 3:49, and 3:54 and you’ll see how he was definitely making a play on the ball. A regular foul was the proper call here. Of course, the extra-curricular face-wipe might have deserved a little something extra.

    The flops are always tough. Some are flops, but I think a lot of times guys get bumped or their feet get tangled up and they fall. I also think that players know that the refs won’t call incidental contact most of the time – even if it affects the play – unless someone falls. The Barnes call – I think it was a question of the ref thought time was up when the foul was committed so he didn’t blow the whistle.

    Finally – HEY CHRIS PAUL!!! Nobody has gotten that “I was going to shoot a half court shot, honest!” foul since 1986. Magic Johnson was the last guy I saw who regularly got those questionable shooting fouls.

    • ChefJay

      Sorry – Chris Paul’s head swipe to Kobe was Game 4, not Game 3.

    • Tracy

      Kobe had no chance of blocking that shot, or even getting close. And it was the way he came down with his arm and elbow on Okafor’s head that was excessive, then pulled down on it snapping Okafor’s neck back. Thug.

    • Doug

      actually Paul himself got that call in a late regular season game against Portland a couple years ago. Game was winding down, Hornets were up 1 with the ball. Portland had to foul for possession. Paul threw his arms up, was rewarded 3 FTs, and pushed it to a 4 point lead.

      • doug

        Oh, and he was literally standing at half court on the play in question.

  • RB

    If Okafor hadn’t gotten up mad (although it would have been hard because he just had his neck snapped back and head torn off), or one of his players had come to his defense by doing some shoving, it would have caught the refs’ attention to try to break things up, then they’d go over to the replay and look at what happened, then would have seen what Kobe had done and assigned a flagrant. It happens all the time. It just goes to show if you don’t stand up for yourself and fight (not literally, but do a little shoving), then no one is going to protect you or penalize the other guy.

    • Tracy

      Oops. I mean if “Okafor HAD gotten up mad”

  • DJ Qube

    The contact lens play is incidental contact. Pau grazes Landry, no doubt, but if he wasn’t wearing contacts, then the incidental contact goes unnoticed by everyone, including Landry.

    The Barnes play could go either way. You can see Jack pull his arms back right after, so even Jack knows he pushed Barnes. What makes it excusable is because it’s the end of the quarter. It’s not in the rulebook, but that kind of stuff gets let go all the time in that situation.

    The CP3 shooting foul at half court is a good one to bring up. Players know they’re going to get fouled, and no matter where they are on the floor, try to get into their shooting motion. More often than not, refs don’t give the shooting foul. There are only a few rare cases where I’ve seen it called in the act of shooting (end of regulation of the 3OT Lakers / Phoenix game, for example). But given the way this type of thing is called, regardless of what the rulebook states, giving CP3 3 shots in this case would be a pretty bad call. He’s not even facing the basket!

    The CP3 Kobe foul is the kind of call that CP3 has been getting several times per game this series. He dives into a defender who is shading him, initiating 100% of the contact. You will see Wade and LeBron do this and get the call most of the time as well. What makes it a bad call is that the offensive player is invading the space of the defender, who is entitled to his space. The quote from the announcer is CP3 “battling his way INTO THE DEFENSE of Kobe Bryant”. It should be an incidental contact no call or an offensive foul if anything. Same goes for a player like Wade jumping awkwardly forward or sideways into a defender who leaves his feet for a shot block.

    Odom / Landry foul? Pure flop.

    Jack / Fisher? I was watching another non TNT feed of the game and it was clear from the forward facing camera angle that Jack smacks Fisher across the left arm here. The ball does not go downward, so it’s obvious no contact with the ball was made. Fish may have embellished the arm contact by twisting his body, but there was definite arm contact. Jack makes not protest of the call.

    Okafur / Pau? Flop. Pau couldn’t even push over an 8 year old girl.

    Artest / Stallone? Good call. Artest is being too aggressive clearing space and Bellinelli has to flop in order to draw the attention of the refs. It was a flop, but Artest was being overly aggressive, which warranted the call.

    Kobe / Okafur? Should have been a flagrant 1. Contact with the head, but not intentional. But to call this a flagrant 2 with ejection and suspensions / fines would be ridiculous. Come on now. I think it was Gray that put Pau in a headlock a couple games before and it was just a regular foul as well.