Home > Blocking, Charging, Dallas Mavericks, Flagrant foul, Loose ball foul, Missed travels, Offensive foul, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phantom foul, Refs fall for a flop, Shooting foul > Mavericks-Thunder (Game 4): The ref calls from an epic comeback (or blown victory) game

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

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.
  • Paul W

    I’m not sure how you can say Kidd lifted his foot on the 3 pointer.  His heel definitely comes up, but I haven’t seen a view where the ball of his foot comes up as well.  Do you have a better angle?

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      It was close. The problem with the rulebook is that it doesn’t address the sliding of the foot, or what Kidd did. We’ve recommended in a previous post the league clarify it. It’s just the “raising” of the foot it addresses. Kidd did raise it, but not all the way off the floor. A slide like this one is halfway between a “raise” and a “pivot.” But we think if the league were to address it, they would say a slide of the foot shouldn’t be allowed because players could easily start sliding their foot more and more to gain an unfair advantage, making it almost a joke.

  • Pessimism

    Heck of a catalog. Great review.

    A few remarks on the analysis:

    Westbrook is trying to force a charge on Barea when he (Westbrook) flops to the ground. A despicable act of cheating that OKC has gotten away with far too much in the playoffs. The foul on Westbrook was the right call.

    Kendrick Perkins did travel. He is, bar none, the worst offensive player in the NBA.

    Jason Kidd’s “foul” of Durant on the three-pointer is questionable. This is a cheap, pathetic move that Durant uses time and again to try to force his way to the FT line. Shameful behavior.

    Haywood’s flagrant foul is questionable. What isn’t questionable is that Durant palmed the ball prior to driving the lane.

    Jason Kidd seems to shuffle his feet before most of his jumpshots. This three point attempt is no exception.

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      We agree with you on the Westbrook block. It would be nice if the league could write some rules to prohibit it when a player just does it for the sake of drawing a charge, but it appears refs are trying to negate it, even though a player like Westbrook may have been technically established.

      Alot of players are using the same move Durant makes, like Kobe, Kevin Martin, etc. It’s become a popular technique. The whole “act of shooting” language needs to be addressed. Right now there is lots of leeway given to players for starting their shooting motion after they feel contact, or initiating it themselves when they see a defender with outstretched arms. It’s taking time for defenders to adjust, but we think they ultimately will.

      We think it’s also a side effect for refs not calling travels on the extra “half step” we’ve been talking about that players are getting on a drive to the basket. Because the advantage is so much in favor of the ball handler since it’s so much easier now to get pas a defender on a drive to the basket, defenders are trying to do what they can to prohibit those dangerous drives to the basket, so they’re holding out their arms to deter the ball handler from driving.

      • Peter

        As far as that no-call on KD’s rip move, I thought Kidd did a smart thing by going for the steal.  Seems like most defenders just leave their arms extended, looking to bother the shooter without making a play on the ball, and that really makes them vulnerable to that foul call.  Of course, Kidd hit Durant’s arm pretty good, but maybe it should have been a non-shooting foul?  I mean, if you’re going for the steal, wouldn’t that make it a ball-handling (i.e. non-shooting) situation, especially if the ball is at his knees?

        Great breakdown, lots of fun to read.

        • Mister_F

          On KD’s patented “rip” move, it’s clearly something that needs to be addressed by the league. With that kind of contact and the rules as they are now, that has to be a foul. I agree it stems from defenders overplaying because of how difficult it is to stop drives with the extra half step, but that doesn’t change that the defender is willingly reaching into the offense. I think the league needs to 1. Fix the traveling rule and 2. Make the “rip” move a non-shooting foul.

    • Mister_F

      If you want to malign Westbrook as a “cheater” for flopping, I don’t think you can leave out the two worst floppers in this series, Barea and the almighty Dirk. It’s annoying to watch, but it’s pretty obviously happening on both sides.

      • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

        Don’t take it so personal. Just about every player flops. In their mind, it’s not “cheating.” It used to have that connotation, but now we have ex-players who are now TV analysts like Steve Kerr recommending that players “sell” or “flop” to make sure a foul is called. The NBA culture has almost rewarded it, with the league not really doing anything to stop it, despite the fans’ disgust for it.

        Regarding Barea and Dirk, we don’t see how you could miss seeing the Dirk flops we’ve featured where a defender has had light contact on his back and he flops. You must have also missed all the clips we have featured of Barea flopping on our sister site “TopFlops.com,” which all have appeared on RefCalls.com

        • Mister_F

          Oh, I was responding to this from Pessimism on Westbrook: “A despicable act of cheating that OKC has gotten away with far too much in the playoffs.” You guys at the site have been solid on noting the flops/sells on both sides (of which there are many).

          Addendum: I referred to Dirk as the Almighty Dirk half facetiously and half serious. I think “getting Dirked” needs to be made a verb after this series.

          • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

            Gotcha. Sorry about that. The way I’m presented these comments for review, I can’t tell if they are in response to someone else. I’ll try to figure out if there’s a different way for me to view them in context.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    Light contact on a couple of them where Nowitzki sold it. We showed one or two of those. If you see something you want to report, you can report them in the RefCalls.com/forums or Tweet them using the #refcalls hashtag with the quarter, time on clock, and description.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    Only if the ref call was wrong and the camera angle is conclusive. ESPN and TNT cut down their replays of controversial calls/no-calls, probably because there are too many of them, and if they did replay all of them, it would show just how much the officiating needs to improve.

    There are too many wrong and missed calls to include every correct one.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    We didn’t see contact from Haywood on Durant’s arms. It was close, but didn’t really see it. Looked like Durant’s arms were flailing backwards regardless of what Haywood was doing, so if there was contact, it was incidental. It was definitely a gutsy and unusual play by Durant because he was willing to sacrifice his body by throwing his lower body forward into Haywood’s body, while also throwing his arms backwards and land on his backside. He almost deserved the technical free throw not because of the contact, but for the willingness to injure himself like he did. Because it was such an unusual sacrifice of a player’s own body, we think most people HAD to think Haywood touched him.

    JVG’s reference to the face guarding by Obaka on Chandler isn’t in the rulebook, but falls under the language in the rulebook that governs what a player can’t do to deter another player the right to go where he wants to go on the court. If Obaka was doing something similar to Chandler from behind or from the side, it would still be a foul.

    We believe the Terry foul near half court was the right call because there was enough contact from Terry to warrant it. We just showed Maynor selling/flopping it a bit to get it called. If Maynor hadn’t done that and had just reacted normally, a foul probably wouldn’t have been called. It’s a fine line between calling and not calling a foul, and usually one player selling/flopping will close the deal. It’s sad, though.

    We agree on the fouls on Dirk on light contact. It’s funny, though. Another commenter here is insinuating those should be fouls. We think contact has to be strong enough to warrant a foul, without looking at how a player flops to sell it. Many refs seem to fall for these flops underneath the basket when players are going after rebounds. Sad.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    We looked at it and thought they were the right no-call and call. We had flagged it to see if it was the right call and no-call and when we reviewed it, it looked okay on both counts. We can’t remember exactly the reasons (working on Chicago-Miami game right now, so don’t have time to review the video right now). But overall, the rulebook is very lenient on how quickly a player can set a screen from the front or side before an opposing player runs into him. They just can’t be moving laterally. We’ll check it again, time permitting. That’s the problem with the NBA, just so many questionable calls to review, it’s hard to keep up with all of them before a new batch comes in to review.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    We didn’t think so. Dirk is amazing at being able to contort his body on most of his fallaway shots to make it look like he was fouled when he actually wasn’t.

  • Tman5611

     Collison had his arms around Dirks waist so much in this series that I thought he was about to have Dirks baby.

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      Good one! Or was doing the bunny line (or dance) you see people do at weddings.