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Archive for May, 2011

If the NBA was a legendary restaurant, many customers would want improvement

May 31st, 2011 4 comments

Since launching RefCalls.com several weeks ago — and analyzing in detail ref calls over the past couple of years — it’s no secret that we and many others are still astonished by the high number of wrong and missed calls that refs make in NBA games.

We still like to give refs some credit when they correctly make some tough calls. You’ll also hear lots of basketball analysts on TV say things like, “There is no harder sport to officiate than an NBA game.” As we head into the marquee event of the season – the NBA Finals — we’ll agree with most of that, but we still believe there is lots of room for improvement.

If you just look at the video below that we put together a few days ago of many of the missed travels during games 3 & 4 of the Miami-Chicago series, you’ll get an understanding of just SOME of the missed calls and bad calls we have featured in a few dozen videos over the past few weeks.

When you think about it, the Navy SEALS (or Army Rangers, Green Berets, and other U.S. Special Ops Forces) have a tough job, too. To become one, you have to overcome some of the toughest mental and physical tests known to man. Their training program and selection process is legendary.

From what we’ve heard, the top annual pay of a SEAL is in the $50k range. On the other hand, we know some of the most senior NBA refs earn over $200k per year. So anyone who says the refs have a tough job is still correct, but when you put it in context, a lot more improvement can be expected based off how much they earn per year in comparison to people with much tougher jobs who make a lot less. For that matter, we all can improve in what we do for a living based on the excellence of the Navy SEALs.

Read more…

Heat-Bulls (Game 5): 4th quarter ref call analysis – surprising number of wrong calls

May 28th, 2011 3 comments

As mentioned in our previous post, we are focusing on the 4th quarter of the two Game 5s that were played in both conferences on Wednesday and Thursday night.

As you know by now, both games were won by Dallas and Miami, respectively, through huge comebacks late in the game. But we thought it would be interesting to see if there were any wrong calls or no-calls that could have changed the outcome of both games.

Dallas overcame a 15-point deficit with less than 5 minutes remaining to eliminate Oklahoma City on Wednesday (4th quarter analysis is here), and Miami came back from a 12-point deficit with less than 4 minutes remaining to eliminate Chicago on Thursday.

In the video below, you’ll see some of the major calls from the 4th quarter of the Heat-Bulls game on Thursday night. Some were correct, but many were wrong, including A MISSED LANE VIOLATION while Derrick Rose was shooting his free throw that should have given Chicago another chance to make it (he missed the attempt) that would have tied the game with less than 30 seconds remaining!

No one we have seen or heard has brought up this no-call, but it’s clear it was a violation, and could have completely changed the outcome of the game and the series!

Here’s a breakdown of the ref calls and no-calls featured in the video above, with the time remaining on the clock in the 4th quarter when it happened:

  • 7:44 – A very difficult block-charge call involving Miami’s LeBron James and Chicago’s Kurt Thomas. Thomas was called for a block, but it looked like it should have been a charge on James.
  • 6:42 – Ref Greg Willard called a foul on Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer when it appeared that Miami’s LeBron James flopped to draw a foul after light contact from Brewer.
  • 5:55 – The refs miss a blocking violation on Chicago’s Kurt Thomas. His foot was in the restricted area as Miami’s Chris Bosh drove to the basket.
  • 5:17 – The refs correctly make a no-call when Chicago’s Derrick Rose lightly touches Miami’s Dwyane Wade driving to the basket.
  • 1:48 – The refs miss a travel by Chicago’s Derrick Rose right before he scores a basket that gave Chicago a 7-point lead.
  • 1:31 – Ref Scott Foster correctly calls a foul on Chicago’s Derrick Rose after fouling Miami’s Dwyane Wade shooting a 3-pointer.
  • 0:28 – The refs arguably miss a travel (“carry”) by Chicago’s Derrick Rose as he drives to the basket.
  • 0:27 – The refs miss a lane violation by Miami’s Chris Bosh as Chicago’s Derrick Rose misses a free throw that could have tied the game. Rose should have been given another opportunity to shoot the free throw again.
  • 0:01 – Miami’s LeBron James blocks Chicago’s Derrick Rose on a 3-point attempt. James does make some contact with Rose’s hand on the follow-through, but because he had already blocked the shot, the contact was ruled incidental. After the game, Rose said he thought he was not fouled, confirming the call by the ref was the correct call.

Thunder-Mavericks (Game 5): Most important ref calls and no-calls: Dallas didn’t benefit during comeback win

May 27th, 2011 15 comments

Because we’ve had such amazing comeback wins (or meltdowns, depending on how you look at it) late in the 4th quarter of both the Western and Eastern Conference finals games the past two nights, we’ve decided to focus on the ref calls and no-calls from the 4th quarters of both Game 5s that closed out both series. The 4th quarter is when most of the important calls occurred, and those calls could have had an impact on the game, so we decided to take a deeper look.

Below is video from Wednesday night’s Oklahoma City-Dallas 4th quarter that closed it out for the Mavericks. We’ve concluded that Dallas’ comeback in the fourth quarter was not a result of the refs calling too many fouls against Oklahoma City since Dallas had more wrong calls/no-calls against them than OKC.

We’ll have video from Thursday’s Miami-Chicago game coming out later today.

In this video, you’ll see the following clips.

  • Ref Monty McCutchen will incorrectly call a foul against OKC’s Russell Westbrook when it appeared he got “all ball” on a block of a shot of Dallas’ Shawn Marion. Marion would go on to make 1-of-2 free throws to cut the OKC lead to 83-77.
  • The refs don’t call a foul on OKC’s James Harden when he appears to push off on Dallas’ Jose Barea, perhaps because Barea has a history of flopping and he tried to sell this one like he has done with others. Harden would go on to score a basket to give OKC an 87-79 lead.
  • The video is inconclusive if the ball went off Dallas’ Jason Kidd or Chicago’s Nick Collison. Ref Monty McCutchen called the ball off of Kidd.
  • The refs miss an arguable travel by OKC’s Kevin Durant driving to the basket, and also miss him pushing off a bit on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler, although the push-off could have been incidental. Durant would go on to score to make the game 92-86.
  • Ref Derrick Stafford will call a blocking foul on OKC’s Eric Maynor when it appeared he was established defensively before Dallas’ Shawn Marion ran into him. Marion would go on to make 2 free throws to cut OKC’s lead down to 92-90.
  • The refs miss some contact that Dallas’ Jason Terry applies on OKC’s Russell Westbrook as he’s putting up a shot, but it didn’t hurt OKC much because Kevin Durant would score on the ensuing possession.
  • Ref Jason Phillips calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler on OKC’s Russell Westbrook when a foul didn’t appear to be warranted. However, OKC would turn the ball over on the ensuing possession, so it didn’t hurt Dallas.
  • The refs made the correct no-call to not call a foul against Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when he and OKC’s Russell Westbrook were going after a rebound.
  • Ref Derrick Stafford incorrectly calls a foul against Dallas’ Tyson Chandler on OKC’s Russell Westbrook on a drive to the basket.

Missed travels from Game 3 & 4 of Bulls-Heat series

May 26th, 2011 7 comments

You may recall how we haven’t covered yet most of the missed travels from Games 3 & 4 of the Chicago-Miami series simply because there were so many of them, there’s not enough time to include them in each game’s video summary before needing to move on to the next game.

However, we’ve decided to feature those missed travels in a separate video, which is below. As you can imagine, it’s very time-consuming to break them down in slow-motion (about 3-4 times longer), but it’s essential to prove the point.

We’ll work on the final game of the Dallas-OKC series next, but wanted to get this video out first before Game 5 of tonight’s Bulls-Heat game. We also imagine there are lots of Dallas fans who are interested in seeing what their next opponent does from a traveling perspective that the refs don’t call.

Here’s a summary of the travels in the video above (7 in Game 3, 10 in Game 4):

LeBron James – 6
Derrick Rose – 6
Dwyane Wade – 2
Chris Bosh – 2
Joakim Noah – 1

Game 3:

  • 0:07 – Miami’s LeBron James
  • 0:26 – Chicago’s Joakim Noah
  • 0:59 – Chicago’s Derrick Rose
  • 2:15 – Chicago’s Derrick Rose
  • 2:35 – Miami’s Chris Bosh
  • 3:17 – Miami’s LeBron James
  • 3:46 – Chicago’s Derrick Rose

Game 4

  • 4:20 – Chicago’s Derrick Rose (includes a wrong foul call by ref Bennett Salvatore on Miami’s Mario Chalmers
  • 5:53 – Miami’s Dwyane Wade
  • 6:20 – Chicago’s Derrick Rose
  • 7:05 – Miami’s LeBron James
  • 7:57 – Miami’s LeBron James
  • 8:22 – Miami’s Dwyane Wade
  • 8:49 – Chicago’s Derrick Rose
  • 9:11 – Miami’s Chris Bosh
  • 9:41 – Miami’s LeBron James
  • 10:14 – Miami’s LeBron James

Note: we cut down the number we originally had (20+) to 17 of the more obvious travels.

Bulls-Heat (Game 4): Select ref calls & no-calls, sans all the missed travels (coming later)

May 25th, 2011 9 comments

Below are select ref calls and no-calls from last night’s game between Chicago and Miami. We’ve also included a couple of calls that were really tough that the refs correctly made, to their credit.

We are planning on releasing a video before Game 5 (hopefully) of all the more obvious travels (20+) that have been missed by the refs in Games 3 & 4 of this series. When you have players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose playing in the same game, it adds a significant amount of time to create these videos if you want to cover all of the travels fairly (and show how bad the league and refs are in enforcing them).

So we’ve decided to try to tackle that feat through a separate project coming up soon. However, the final clip in THIS video DOES include one of the most important missed travels of the game — the shot made by LeBron James that put the game away for Miami.

In the video above, you’ll see the following clips:

  • Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony when it didn’t look like he made contact with Chicago’s Derrick Rose.
  • Ref Ed Malloy will incorrectly call a charging foul on Chicago’s Luol Deng while Miami’s Chris Bosh was still moving laterally.
  • Ref Bennett Salvatore will incorrectly rule the ball went off Miami’s Chris Bosh‘s hand before going out of bounds when it really went off Chicago’s Taj Gibson‘s hand.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will correctly call an offensive foul against Chicago’s Luol Deng for leaning into Miami’s LeBron James.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will miss an obvious violation of Kyle Korver fouling an opponent when chasing after a loose ball, but fortunately ref Bennett Salvatore covered for Crawford’s omission and called the violation, probably thinking Crawford was going to call it, but when he didn’t, Salvatore had to blow his whistle late. Better late than never, though.
  • Two refs will call a shooting foul on Miami’s Dwayne Wade when it appears he didn’t make contact with Chicago’s Luol Deng wrist or arm.
  • Ref Ed Malloy made the correct call when Chicago’s Joakim Noah charged into Miami’s Udonis Haslem, and having to do it while ref Joe Crawford was calling an incorrect blocking foul on Haslem, which fortunately Malloy overruled.
  • Ref Bennett Salvatore will correctly call a foul on Miami’s LeBron James for charging into Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Dwyane Wade when it appeared he did nothing wrong with Chicago’s Luol Deng when Deng lost control of the ball on his own.
  • The refs will miss an obvious traveling call by Miami’s LeBron James as he hits a jumper that puts the game away and secures a victory.

Interview with ESPN Dallas Radio on Monday

May 25th, 2011 No comments

On Monday RefCalls.com was invited to be a guest on the “Ben and Skin” radio show in Dallas on FM 103.3, the ESPN radio affiliate in the Dallas area.

This interview took place the morning of Dallas-OKC Game #4 (the game where Dallas overcame a 15-point deficit in the last 5 minutes to win the game). Check it out below…

Ben and Skin show interview – 05-23-11 by refcalls

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Mavericks-Thunder (Game 4): The ref calls from an epic comeback (or blown victory) game

May 24th, 2011 17 comments

Here’s select ref calls from last night’s Dallas-Oklahoma City game. Since it was a classic game, it deserved thorough analysis (thus, the reason it took a littler longer than normal to get this out).

Here’s a summary of the calls (described in detail below). We don’t claim these are all of them, but a pretty thorough representation.

Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing Dallas – 5
Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing OKC – 8

Wrong calls/no-calls by refs:

  • Dan Crawford – 6
  • Tony Brothers – 2
  • Ken Mauer – 2
  • Shared among multiple refs – 4

In the video above, you’ll see clips of the following:

  • The refs miss OKC’s Kevin Durant creating space with his left arm on Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson on his way to his spectacular dunk that was key to getting past Stevenson. Should have been an offensive foul on Durant.
  • Ref Dan Crawford calls a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison for light contact on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki that he really sells. The other refs much closer to the play than Crawford didn’t blow their whistle or raise their arm. Should have been a no-call.
  • Ref Ken Mauer correctly calls a foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry, but OKC’s Eric Maynor does a good job of selling/flopping to get the foul called.
  • Ref Tony Brothers will call a foul on OKC’s Russell Westbrook when he looked established defensively before Dallas’ Jose Barea ran into him. But because Westbrook flopped to help sell it, Brothers might have been more compelled to call the foul against Westbrook.
  • Ref Dan Crawford missed a travel by OKC’s Kendrick Perkins right before Perkins scored on a layup.
  • ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy ribs the OKC fans for chanting insults in unison at the refs for a call that was obviously the correct one.
  • Ref Dan Crawford incorrectly calls a foul against Dallas’ Shawn Marion for aggressively trying to deny the ball from OKC’s Kevin Durant.
  • The refs missed a foul from Dallas’ Jason Kidd on OKC’s Kevin Durant that led to a “steal” by the Mavericks.
  • The refs will miss a foul on OKC’s James Harden, who hit Jason Terry‘s wrist on a 3-point shot attempt.
  • A tough call/no-call that could have gone either way between Dallas’ Jason Terry and OKC’s Serge Ibaka where Ibaka might have been moving slightly under Terry on a shot attempt, but Terry was also selling it a bit.
  • Ref Ken Mauer will call a ball out-of-bounds off an OKC player when it looked like it went off Dallas’ Brendan Haywood.
  • Ref Dan Crawford will call a “flagrant 1″ foul on Dallas’ Brendan Haywood when it looked like he didn’t make contact with OKC’s Kevin Durant when he brought his arms down.
  • Ref Ken Mauer will call a foul on OKC”s Nick Collison when it didn’t look like he made meaningful contact with Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Ref Dan Crawford will call a double foul between OKC’s Serge Ibaka and Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when it looked like Chandler was responsible for initiating the contact.
  • Ref Dan Crawford will call an incorrect foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry when OKC’s Russell Westbrook was the one responsible for initiating contact with Terry by cutting in front of him.
  • Ref Tony Brothers will call a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison when it didn’t look like there was any meaningful contact on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Dallas’ Jason Kidd appeared to travel before he hit a 3-pointer in overtime, although most refs won’t call a travel for the slight upward movement like Kidd had with his pivot foot.

Bulls-Heat (Game 3): So many calls, and so little time to capture them all

May 23rd, 2011 5 comments

There were so many calls and no-calls to review from last night’s Chicago-Miami game, it took longer than normal to go through them all. For example, we counted at least 10 travels that were missed by the refs (due to frequent violators like Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade playing in the same game), but because it takes so much time to edit and include them in a video, we might create a separate video later that just focuses on those travels.

In the meantime, here are most of the non-traveling related calls and no-calls we found that were significant, or interesting.

In this video, you’ll see the following:

  • Ref Ron Garretson correctly calls back an inbounds pass from Dwyane Wade since the ball accidentally grazed Garretson’s fingers resulting in a turnover for the Heat. But Garretson should have called a foul on Taj Gibson for extending part of his body over the boundary line, which isn’t allowed according to the rulebook.
  • Ref Ron Garretson calls a ticky-tack foul on Chicago’s Carlos Boozer in defending Miami’s Chris Bosh.
  • Chicago’s Keith Bogans is fouled by Miami’s Dwayne Wade as Bogans goes into his shooting motion (which is the correct call), but Bogans arguably traveled, which was missed.
  • Chicago’s Carlos Boozer uses elbow to clear out space on Miami’s Udonis Haslem, but the refs didn’t call an offensive foul on Boozer.
  • Ref Steve Javie calls a foul on Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer when it looked like Miami’s Mario Chalmers was just jumping into the air to avoid colliding into his teammate, or was flopping. Wrong call by Javie.
  • Chicago’s Carlos Boozer seems to set an illegal screen on Miami’s Mike Miller, but no foul was called.
  • Miami’s Ronnie Brewer will fall hard on Miami’s Mike Miller in the scramble for a loose ball, but no foul is called.
  • Ref Mike Callahan will wrongly call an offensive charge against Chicago’s Carlos Boozer when he drives to the basket and contact is made with Miami’s Udonis Haslem, even though one of Haslem’s feet was in the restricted area.
  • Ref Ron Garretson calls a foul on Chicago’s Kyle Korver when it looks like Korver got “all ball” on a block of Miami’s LeBron James.
  • The refs will miss a shooting foul from Miami’s Mike Bibby on Chicago’s Joakim Noah.
  • Ref Steve Javie will correctly call an offensive foul on Chicago’s Luol Deng, but with the help of a sell/flop from Miami’s LeBron James.
  • Ref Ron Garretson will incorrectly call a moving screen on Chicago’s Joakim Noah when it appeared he was established before Miami’s Mike Bibby ran into him.
  • Ref Ron Garretson will call a ticky-tack foul on Miami’s Chris Bosh involving Chicago’s Carlos Boozer.

Mavericks-Thunder (Game 3): First half pretty clean of bad calls, but second half made up for it

May 22nd, 2011 18 comments

In last night’s Dallas-Oklahoma City game, there weren’t that many bad calls in the first half. Dallas was running away with it, so maybe that had something to do with it.

But in the second half, the bad calls and wrong no-calls increased as the game got tighter as OKC made their comeback. Makes you wonder if a correlation is there. Hmmm….You can decide for yourself in the video below.

Here’s a summary of the calls (described in detail below). We don’t claim these are all of them, but a pretty thorough representation (Don’t get mad, OKC fans. If you see some we missed, you can report them here in the RefCalls forums):

Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing Dallas – 8
Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing OKC – 3

Wrong calls/no-calls by refs:

  • Scott Foster – 5
  • Marc Davis – 4
  • Bob Delaney – 1
  • Shared among multiple refs – 1

In the video above, you’ll see the following:

  • Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler after OKC’s Kendrick Perkins had his arm wrapped around Chandler’s neck.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Brendan Haywood, but with the help of some good selling by OKC’s Nick Collison.
  • Dallas’ Shawn Marion will drive to the basket and seems to get fouled intentionally by OKC’s Thabo Sefolosha, but there was no call.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler for fouling OKC’s Russell Westbrook, but it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Scott Foster calls a technical on OKC’s Russell Westbrook, which didn’t seem all that major, when it was actually in response to a little shove from Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki. This should have been a no-call.
  • Ref Marc Davis will call a technical foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler for elbowing OKC’s James Harden in the face. Although there was contact worthy of a foul, Harden sold it well by dropping to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
  • The refs made a correct no-call on a ball that OKC’s James Harden lost as he was going up. The OKC fans thought Dirk Nowitzki had fouled him, which wasn’t the case.
  • The refs made a correct no-call for not calling a traveling violation on Dallas’ Shawn Marion when many of the OKC fans thought he traveled.
  • The refs seemed to miss a charging call on OKC’s Kevin Durant when Dallas’ Jason Kidd beat him to the spot.
  • Ref Scott Foster called a foul on Dallas’ Jose Barea when it looked like he didn’t make any contact (or negligible contact) on OKC’s Russell Westbrook.
  • Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when it didn’t look like there was any significant contact.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a foul on Dallas’ Jose Barea for fouling OKC’s Russell Westbrook, when it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry for fouling OKC’s James Harden when it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Scott Foster will call a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison for fouling Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, when it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Bob Delaney didn’t call a foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki when he shoved OKC’s Nick Collison, which is inconsistent with the technical foul that Westbrook received for a similar shove earlier in the game.

Thunder-Mavericks (Game 2): Lots of wrong and missed calls, interesting stats after you add it all up

May 20th, 2011 17 comments

We reviewed lots of calls (15, our most to date!) from last night’s Oklahoma City-Dallas game (game 2 of the series), and it kept us pretty busy as you’ll see in the video below. Overall, it was much better officiated than Game 1 that “starred” ref Joe Crawford, but there were still enough calls in this game that were pretty questionable.

The number of calls and no-calls we reviewed that favored Dallas was 2 1/2, and those that favored Oklahoma City was 5. This is a raw calculation that doesn’t take into account the impact of the calls/no-calls on the final score, but it’s interesting data nonetheless.

By the way, our video is a little distorted because of some software issues that our vendor hasn’t resolved for us yet, but it still works decent enough.

Here’s a summary of the calls that are in the video above:

  • Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki lifted his pivot foot before releasing the ball on the dribble that led to a dunk, which is a travel (most refs miss this for some reason, which we describe in further detail here).
  • OKC’s Kevin Durant was able to sneak a half-step on his drive to the basket that led to his amazing dunk. Thus, it was a missed travel.
  • Ref Tom Washington made a bad call on Dallas’ Ian Mahinmi when it appeared he made no contact on a driving James Harden.
  • Ref Tom Washington correctly doesn’t call a foul when Dallas’ Jose Barea flops.
  • Ref Bill Spooner appears to call a phantom foul on OKC’s Kendrick Perkins when guarding Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Ref Greg Willard called an offensive foul on OKC’s Kevin Durant, which looked legit, although it appeared that Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson sold it really well (so we’ll call this a “push” and deem the call didn’t favor one team over another).
  • Ref Greg Willard appears to correctly call a foul on Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson by applying light contact on OKC’s Kevin Durant, although if he hadn’t called it, no one probably would have had a problem with it. So we’ll also call this one a “push” that didn’t wrongly favor one team over another.
  • Ref Bill Spooner will miss an extended elbow from Dallas’ Tyson Chandler on an illegal screen on OKC’s Kevin Durant.
  • It appears ref Bill Spooner calls a phantom shooting foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry in guarding OKC’s James Harden.
  • OKC’s Nick Collison isn’t established defensively and should have been called for a blocking foul on Dirk Nowitzki, but it didn’t hurt Dallas since Nowitzki went on to score.
  • Ref Tom Washington correctly doesn’t call a foul when Dallas’ Deshawn Stevenson flops on Kevin Durant.
  • Ref Tom Washington calls a shooting foul on Dirk Nowitzki against OKC’s James Harden that probably should have been a no-call.
  • Ref Tom Washington calls a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison when Dallas’ Tyson Chandler was culpable as well, locking up Collison’s arm. Probably should have been a double-foul. We’ll count this as 1/2 a call that favored Dallas.
  • The refs give Dirk Nowitzki 3 free throws when OKC’s Nick Collison fouled him, but everyone misses the fact that Nowitzki lifted his pivot foot during all of this, so it should have been a travel.
  • The refs missed Dallas’ Tyson Chandler pushing of OKC’s Kendrick Perkins to the floor, although a different foul was called a couple of seconds later.