Home > Bad announcing, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Missed travels, Out of bounds call, Shooting foul, Technical foul, Ticky-tack fouls, Traveling > Heat-Bulls (Game 1): Some pretty bad calls against both teams, and some sad commentary from Steve Kerr

Heat-Bulls (Game 1): Some pretty bad calls against both teams, and some sad commentary from Steve Kerr

We’ve decided to focus on some of the calls from the Miami-Chicago game yesterday rather than Game 7 of Memphis-Oklahoma City that was played earlier in the day. That’s because OKC was never really threatened after they blew the game open in the 3rd quarter. Plus, it’s just not as interesting to point out ref calls for a series that’s over, unless there was a call that could have changed the outcome of the game, which there wasn’t.

In the video below you’ll see much more interesting calls for the Heat-Bulls series that could go a full seven games.

Here’s a breakdown of the clips in the video:

  • Ref Ken Mauer assigns a shooting foul on Keith Bogans for fouling LeBron James although it didn’t look like James was close to being in a shooting motion.
  • The entire ref crew gives Miami a break by not assigning a technical foul for having six players on the floor at one time.
  • Ref Dan Crawford assigns a ticky-tack foul on Kyle Korver when guarding LeBron James.
  • The refs failed to review if a shot by Carlos Boozer at the buzzer beat the shot clock (which it didn’t).
  • The refs failed to miss a travel by Derrick Rose, but even worse, TNT announcer Steve Kerr, while watching the slo-mo replay, fawns all over Rose’s ball handling abilities — hyping it up — without ever thinking Rose might have traveled. Just goes to show that even former NBA players get caught up in the hype without thinking of the rules.
  • Ref Ken Mauer misses Ronnie Brewer‘s foot on the baseline right before a dunk that gave the Bulls a 14-point lead with 8:59 remaining in the game.
  • JumboJet

    You do know that your slow mo recap of the travel was twice as slow as the one they showed on TV right? 

    Also, it appears that Kyle Korver pulls Lebron so he can get into a position to intercept the pass.  Is it ticky-tack?  Yes, but no where in the rule book do the words ‘Ticky Tack’ appear. 

    Page 43, Section 1a from the rulebook – “Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately”  Kyle appears to re-rout Lebron, thus a foul.

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      Yes, we slow down replay sometimes to make the point more clear. 

      We never claim “ticky tack” is in the rule book.  It’s a shorter way of saying a ref calls a foul for minor or incidental contact.  The rule book states, “The mere fact that contact occurs does not necessarily constitute a foul.”  Regarding Korver, that contact was so minor, it did nothing to LeBron.  If they called a foul on that kind of contact every time, a game would take hours.  It’s subjective, but we tend to be pretty lenient on player contact before saying a foul should be called, similar to what you’d see in the 80s or 90s.  It seems in the past 10-15 years a generation of players have come into the game where fouls are called way too many times, which incidentally exacerbates the flopping problem.  If refs wouldn’t call ticky-tack fouls so much, there would probably be less flopping from players, who would just “play on” when they felt incidental or minor contact.

      • JumboJet

         I’m sorry, but where does it state in the rule book that “the mere fact that contact occurs does not necessarily constitute a foul”?  I see a bunch of exceptions listed that show what kind of contact is allowable in the personal fouls section, but I don’t see any kind of blanket statement such as that.

        I don’t necessarily agree with you on the Korver foul being so light that it didn’t affect the play at all, but I do agree with you that ‘ticky tack’ fouls like that shouldn’t be called.  Too many fouls makes the game disjointed, slow, and boring and the teams should play on.

        The point I’m trying to make is that I still have no idea what you are trying to accomplish here.  Is this a scientific look at how the game should be called via the rule book vs how officials call it today?  Even though you parade out the book about travel calls and the like, you still take the stance of “he wasn’t fouled hard enough to get that call,” so that can’t be it.  Is this a procedural look at how certain refs call the games different ways?  No, because you only detail certain plays from certain games.  You can’t really correlate any data from the limited amounts you review to make a hypothesis.  Is this a whiny fan-boy forum where you complain about your player getting fouled?  No.  So in summery, I have no idea what your goal here is?

        • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

           Good questions.  The first answer is the that sentenced I referenced is at the top of page 55 of the of the 2010-11 NBA handbook.

          The second answer is that it’s a combination of all three questions, with a focus on the first one.  The “incidental contact” and “ticky-tack call” standards can be very subjective and all over the map when you compare refs to each other.  It’s the one part of the game the NBA can’t describe through written rules, but we believe it can be standardized.  There are tons of cases where incidental contact occurs and the refs don’t call a foul that we don’t point out because those refs have “calibrated” the amount of contact that’s allowed to a certain standard where we’ve seen through experience that players have deemed acceptable.  So when there are outlier refs like Joey Crawford who are known to call every little thing, they are outliers and we believe this is valuable information that can be ultimately be used by teams to prepare for games , just like they do in preparing for an opponent’s players.

          This site is also a “procedural look” as you state to show how the refs call games different ways.  By educating fans through examples, maybe it will start a grassroots movement for the NBA to do something about it.  We can only guess if the NBA front office is taking a look at this site behind closed doors and saying, “Wow, someone is finally holding us accountable through examples in a public forum.  Maybe we should address our issues to an even further degree.  Perhaps add more replay (like we have espoused where it’s not disruptive to the flow of the game).”  Or maybe they’re saying, “Wow, we didn’t realize the problem is worse than we thought, and these examples will help us train our refs better.”  Or maybe NBA refs are checking out the site privately and saying, “Man, I need to get better because these guys are calling me out on really stupid mistake I make.  I need to improve just like everyone who works in a job needs to improve because I’m now being graded in a public forum, which never happened before the Internet.”  This kind of stuff we may never know is being said, but if there’s even a chance it’s having that affect, then it’s worth it.  We don’t always need to have concrete evidence that something is working, or will work, in order to keep doing it.  Otherwise, most of the new products and businesses in this country never would have gotten off the ground.

          We all hear the boos and see the fans who are yelling at the refs, calling into radio talkshows about how bad the refs were in a game. Clearly there is disenchantment with the refs.  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  And we are very explicit throughout the site and are videos there is no way as volunteers we can capture all of the wrong and missed calls.  There are just too many.  We started out with that goal, but realized after really digging into it, there was just no way.  We make this pretty clear in our “About” videos at http://refcalls.com/category/about.

          Funding could help us get to the point where we can maybe achieve a statistically significant level of results that can help teams and fans understand what specific refs are inclined to call or not call in certain situations.  Since launching the site, we have had interest from some investors.  So that objective may be getting achieved by continuing to show the disparity of calls among the refs to show it’s not going away.  We also thought by launching the site, we could determine how many additional volunteers might submit their calls into the forum via a crowdsourcing model, but we’ve quickly realized most people aren’t willing to do that work.  They expect this data to somehow magically appear without them putting any work into it themselves.

          • JumboJet

            I would think the weight of your undertaking would not be in the cataloging of calls, but in the video breakdown and analysis.  However, if that’s what you say is preventing you from doing more then perhaps I’ll have to chip in to see for myself.  Also, perhaps it would be easier if you didn’t post video’s so soon.  I have the Bulls/Heat game on my DVR and I can go through and find all a ton of calls that you didn’t go over (IIRC, the start of the 2nd period had a number of calls that looked horrible at the time).

            Also, are you sure its on page 55?  Because its not on page 55 of the copy of the rules I d/led from http://nba.com/officiating  which you linked to in your Misconceptions about Traveling topic

          • JumboJet

             never mind about what page, its on page 54,  (55 according to adobe, but on printed page 54 according to the rulebook).  Also, I just posted every call I could find by reviewing the game on your forum. 

          • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

            Thanks for that.  We’re using many of those calls for today’s video.  We saw many of the same, but there were some you mentioned that we didn’t catch.  Good work.

          • JumboJet

             Thanks.  May I make a few suggestions though?  First, I can’t seem to find a direct link from your home page to your forum.  I dunno if you have one or not, but I would think it help get more people to post problem calls by improving exposure if you gave it a button or something.

            Also, your forum itself could use some work.  Firstly, I was able to start posting without having to verify my email address. As you can probably see now, some asshat has started to spam you with commercials.  Also, even though I was logged in, it wouldn’t let me quick reply saying I wasn’t logged in.  Very strange.

          • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

             There’s a link in the nav bar called “Report bad calls (and flops)”

            Thanks for the tip about the email address thing. We thought we had set it up for email verification.  We’ll check into it.  Don’t know about the Quick Reply.  We haven’t had an issue with that.  Weird.

      • JumboJet

         Also, I only made the slow mo comment, because I was defending Steve Kerr.  You make it sound like he should know better, but even on the TNT replay its hard to see the travel there

        • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

           Yeah, Kerr should know better. He played guard in the NBA and should understand if a player makes an incredible move that looks too good to be true, maybe he should ask the guys in the truck to replay the clip for him during the commercial break before using such over-the-top language.  Or just not make statements like those.  But that’s the way the league and alot of announcers work — “Ready, Fire, Aim,” all in the name of entertainment without thinking of substance.  An announcer at the national level who played the game for years should be more cautious.

          • JumboJet

             I still think you are being a little harsh.  Despite his experiences as a player and NBA exec, he is currently getting paid to entertain the masses and not to arbitrate the rules.  (Besdies, Reggie Miller is wayyyy worse)

  • Pessimism

    Nice catches. Rose had several of these travels during the game.

    I disagree with the stated reasons for the decision not to analyze the calls in Game 7 of OKC/Memphis. The reasoning states that “it’s just not as interesting to point out ref calls for a series that’s over, unless there was a call that could have changed the outcome of the game, which there wasn’t.”

    There were several calls that swung the momentum and the game to OKC in the first and second quarters (after I which I stopped watching). Absurd no-calls in OKC’s favor combined with equally ridiculous charging calls against Memphis gave the Thunder an eight point lead heading into halftime. A game that was being very evenly (poorly) played (on the court — without the benefit of ridiculous home calls) instead gave OKC a large cushion. In a Game 7, where every possession counts, the refs gave OKC too many bonuses. Memphis never had a chance.

    Blowouts don’t always mean that the outcome wasn’t affected by calls. It can often mean that the bad calls changed the momentum of the game in a way that was insurmountable.

    • JumboJet

      You are correct.  These calls could have also happened earlier in the game to turn what could have been a close game into a blowout.

      My ultimate dream would be to have this site break down and analyze a game from opening tip till its completed once or twice a month.  That in many ways would be more informative by giving a complete picture as to what everybody is looking at.  I swear, it drives me crazy how they can be sticklers for travel calls but a player has to be clubbed upside their head in order for them to call it a legit foul. 

      • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

        We concur with your dream and hopefully we can get there one day.  Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time in the day for a small group of volunteers to capture everything, but at least it’s a start, and maybe over time we’ll get there.  One thing is pretty clear, though: not many people are willing to volunteer to submit bad or missed calls they see into the RefCalls forums.  I guess alot of people expect this data to magically appear without contributing any data themselves. 

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      We think that any team that can’t overcome some bad calls that only occur in the first and second quarter really aren’t deserving of the win, unless it was an unnecessary ejection of a star player.

      • Pessimism

        The bad calls didn’t necessarily only occur in the first half alone. That’s simply when I stopped documenting them.

        Even if the bad calls had only occurred in the first half, a team that is hampered by bad calls isn’t only affected by the artificially lopsided score. The fouls that they are assessed and that their opponents are not assessed have a substantial and material effect on the rest of the game. The inability to overcome one-sided officiating, in spite of effort and regardless of the timing of the calls, is not a reflection of whether or not a team is deserving of the win.

        • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

          We think it’s a pretty good indicator.  But believe us, we’d love to document every bad or missed call from every game, but as we state on the site and the videos, there is just no way that a small group of volunteers can keep up with all of the bad and missed calls.  As we state in the response to JumboJet below, “We also thought by launching the site, we could determine how many additional volunteers might submit their calls into the forum via a crowdsourcing model, but we’ve quickly realized most people aren’t willing to do that work.  They expect this data to somehow magically appear without them putting any work into it themselves.”

          • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

             We forgot to respond to your second statement about teams overcoming “one-sided officiating.”  Actually, Memphis was only down 8 points at halftime, which isn’t that big of a deficit.  Teams come out of the halftime locker room putting any “momentum” that their opponent gained in the first half behind them.  It’s a clean slate.  Really good teams can overcome 8-point deficits.  But let’s face it, they were on the road against a tough crowd, and that’s why home court advantage is so valuable, and OKC had earned it through the course of the season.  It’s no shame that Memphis couldn’t overcome it, but we don’t think missed or bad calls in the first half will prevent really good teams from overcoming an 8-point halftime deficit unless a star player was ejected.

          • Pessimism

            Why don’t we just spot every home team 8 points right out of the gate and see how fair that is. How about 10? How about 12? How about 20? How much should a good team be expected to overcome? Rhetorical questions, all. It shouldn’t be necessary to overcome one-sided officiating. Overcoming is a credit to a team, but it can’t be always be an expectation.

            A bit too much weight is being given to my initial statement of the first half being unfairly called. In no way should my honest observation, based on my viewing of the first half in isolation, be construed as an implication that the second half was free from one-sided, game-altering officiating.

  • Blah127

    The announcer is NOT STEVE KERR!!! It’s REGGIE MILLER!!!! Good job getting your facts straight.

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff


      • Blah128guy

        You weren’t referring to other games.

        The fifth bullet point says:
        “The refs failed to miss a travel by Derrick Rose, but even worse, TNT announcer Steve Kerr,
        while watching the slo-mo replay, fawns all over Rose’s ball handling
        abilities — hyping it up — without ever thinking Rose might have

        The announcer is not Steve Kerr. It is Reggie Miller. Listen to the voice. It is Miller.

        You guys are turning out to be just a bunch of pissy fans wanting to mouth off. And you can’t admit being wrong.

        • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

          I thought you were talking about another video. When we review these comments, it doesn’t tell us what videos people are talking about. That said, you’re deaf. We are referring to STEVE KERR at the 3:38 mark starting off his drooling with the word “Breathtaking…” Miller’s comments were nothing compared to Kerr’s drooling. You’re in such a rush to try to find a “gotcha” moment, you aren’t very thorough in watching and listening to the entire clip. Turns out you’re the pissy one, and I bet you can’t apologize or admit you’re wrong Mr. Mouth Off (using your words, not ours).

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      Oh yeah, forgot to mention your other comments show you are idiot. You’re done.