Home > Dallas Mavericks, Goaltending, Loose ball foul, Miami Heat, Missed travels, Offensive 3 seconds, Personal foul, Refs fall for a flop, Shooting foul > Heat-Mavericks (Game 4): Less wrong ref calls, but still a disparity

Heat-Mavericks (Game 4): Less wrong ref calls, but still a disparity

After analyzing all the wrong or missed ref calls in Game 4 played Tuesday night, we determined it was one of the better officiated games (Greg Willard, Monty McCutchen and Marc Davis were in the crew) given we counted only 10 calls or no-calls (taking out missed travels) that were wrong or questionable. Even though the Mavericks won, there was still a disparity that favored the Heat.

We counted 2 calls/no-calls that favored Dallas, which roughly helped them score 2 extra points directly in those possessions in question. On the other hand, 8 calls/no-calls helped Miami, resulting in 10 extra points. We know this may be hard to believe for some of the skeptics who think these numbers are rigged, but you can checkout the video below of the plays in question.

If you’ve liked hearing analyst Jeff Van Gundy‘s frank commentary on flopping during the playoffs, you’ll love what he says about flopping starting at the 2:04 mark of the video.

There were several calls as they occurred that were tricky to assess that we ultimately agreed with, or were inconclusive. We plan on publishing a video of those plays separately, so if you don’t see some calls/no-calls from the game in the video below, wait for the next video we publish to understand our assessment on some of those calls.

After that, if you think we left something out, you can submit your calls into the forum like we’ve always encouraged so we can have a complete database of missed calls.

We also counted up the number of missed traveling violations by the refs. There were 16 of them, which is lower than what we’ve seen from other games, partly because Miami’s LeBron James didn’t attack the rim as much as he normally does. According to our calculations, both teams had an equal number of missed travels — eight each — with Dallas scoring 6 points on those possessions where they occurred, and Miami scoring 4 points.

Here’s the individual player breakdown of missed travels:

Miami (8):
Dwyane Wade – 5
LeBron James – 1
Chris Bosh – 1
Mike Miller - 1

*Note: after another review of some key plays after this post was published, we have subsequently changed the missed travels on Miami from 8 to 9, and Dwayne Wade’s individual number from 5 to 6. For more details, see this story.

Dallas (8):
Dirk Nowitzki - 6
Shawn Marion – 1
Jason Terry - 1

Here’s the video of the missed or wrong ref calls for both teams (without the missed travels). Below the video is the list of plays featured:

Wrong or missed ref calls that helped Dallas (resulted in 2 points):

  1. Ref Monty McCutchen will call a ticky-tack foul against Miami’s Udonis Haslem.
  2. Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson will flop to draw a foul against Miami’s LeBron James.

Wrong or missed ref calls that helped Miami (resulted in 10 points):*

  1. The refs miss a push-off by Miami’s Mike Bibby on Dallas’ Jose Barea.
  2. The refs miss a basket interference-goaltending violation by Miami’s LeBron James.
  3. Miami’s LeBron James flops to draw a foul on Dallas’ Brendan Haywood.
  4. The refs miss an offensive 3-second violation on Miami’s Chris Bosh.
  5. The refs miss a shooting foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony involving Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  6. Ref Marc Davis will call a shooting foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki when it’s clear he cleanly stripped Miami’s Chris Bosh.
  7. Ref Monty McCutchen calls a ticky-tack foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler involving Miami’s Chris Bosh.
  8. The refs don’t call a foul on Miami’s Udonis Haslem for contact applied to Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.

*Note: after another review of some key plays after this post was published, we have subsequently changed the wrong or missed calls that helped Miami from 8 to 9, and the number of points resulting from them has been revised from 10 to 12. For more details, see this story.

  • Adam Duke

    Regarding the missed basket interference call on Lebron:

    David Stern recently made a comment during a radio interview that the NBA would be changing that rule this offseason to the international rule, which is that any ball that hits the rim is now in play, eliminating the cylinder rule. His rationale was that it speeds the game up and the current rule is very difficult to call correctly because of the angle.

    That said, the rule change hasn’t happened yet obviously and that play was definitely basket interference, just thought that was interesting.

    • Anonymous

      That’s good to know, but as you pointed out, the rule hasn’t yet changed. For the record though, I think that’s a good rule change. Could make for more aggressive rebounding and more entertaining play above the rim. The basket interference call has been very, very poorly officiated throughout the entire playoffs in my opinion. I haven’t seen it more than 4 or 5 times from what I remember, but it is almost always missed, I think.

    • Anonymous

       Pretty much everyone agrees this would be a TERRIBLE rule change.  I hope to god they don’t do it.

  • Anonymous

    On that last clip, Haslem is using the right arm, backhanded, around the waist to redirect Dirk.  I thought on Dirk’s last made shot, Haslem was more aggressive with the arm around the waist but cleaned up the contact up top. I don’t think that’s a legal guarding position, but the officials were allowing plenty of contact all night I suppose. 

  • Sean

    A couple comments:

    a. On the Haywood foul on James (Heat item #3 above), Haywood reaches in and could be legitimately called for that foul. Big men commonly get called for that foul. LeBron flops, absolutely. But I see it as a legitimiate reach-in foul before that.
    b. On the Chandler foul on Bosh (Heat #7 above), Chandler pushes off on Bosh, then reloads his arm to make contact again, at which point the foul is called. I disagree with that being called “very minimal contact”. If there’s a better camera angle, that would help make a better judgment.

    Otherwise I agree with all your comments. Nice analysis. As a fan, it’s helpful to have somone go back and post evidence, as well as quantify the impact of the evidence.

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      We tend to be a little more liberal with allowed contact since 1) the rulebook states that contact is still subjective, and some refs call more ticky-tack fouls than others, and we believe it should be more standardized, 2) there is contact that occurs off-the-ball that’s even harder than the ones we see on-the-ball, so if they want to maintain consistency, they should call those off-the-ball touch fouls, too, which we don’t think anyone would want to see since it would slow down the game, 3) about 2-3 decades ago, much more contact was allowed than what some refs today, and I think many fans want to keep these players who are making millions from become wussified, 4) many of these players learn the game of basketball on playgrounds where they are accustomed to getting hit, then when they get to the NBA, the refs coddle them, which doesn’t make sense. The players can handle it.

      Thanks for the compliments. We think there is tremendous value of having all these clips sequenced together so that fans can really understand the impact the refs have on the game in comparison to just seeing them sprinkled throughout a 48-minute game.

      • Sean

        I hear you on the contact. It’s a different game today than when I was growing up in the 80s watching the McHale clothesline, Lakers-Celts rivalry, Bad Boy Pistons, and all.

        I think contact on the ball should be called more closely, since that can easily affect dribbling, shooting, and passing – things that more directly affect the flow of the ball and the game. Off the ball, players are moving and jockeying for position. While important, to me that’s not as important as contact when a player has the ball. LeBron’s air balled 3-point shot near the end of Game 3 is a classic example. Shawn Marion bumped him a bit before the shot, but to me the foul that should be called is when Marion hits his hand during the shot, resulting in the ball going halfway to the hoop. I think the rulebook is unclear on hand contact during a shot, but to me that’s something that directly and clearly impacts play, and should be called. Of course, the ref needs to be able to see the difference between hand contact (like Marion’s) and ball contact, which is hard.

        • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

          We agree. Contact on the hand when shooting is an exception to the “let ‘em play” philosophy we have. Like you said, though, the rulebook is very unclear on what’s allowed. We could see it both ways — to not let it go, or let it go. If the ball is a few inches out of the hand, then maybe some contact would be okay. Interesting issue, though, and is a wonder the league hasn’t addressed it with some objective language.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    We’ll be addressing that play in our next video to be released before Game 5 tonight. So stay tuned.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    Yeah, we didn’t see that. And he didn’t even grab his eye, but the top of the head, which wasn’t close to where we think he feasibly could have been hit, although we didn’t think he got hit at all.

  • One

    Wasn’t Dirk’s last basket on a travel?

    • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

      Yes. Didn’t have time to create a missed traveling video for Game 4. Just too many other calls to review. Hard to do with only 1 day off between games. Should be able to do a missed travels video from game 5 before game 6.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    Great comment. I think he’s going to be a bad coach. Seems to get caught up in the style of the game, not the substance. And when he does talk about game or player strategy, it’s not all that deep. Van Gundy blows him out of the water. I think JVG is kind when he says his coaching gig is “well deserved.” Time will tell, though. I thought Doc Rivers wasn’t going to be that great, and he’s turned out to be a pretty good coach.

    • James

      you forget that he had thibs to back him up until last year though ;)

      • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

        Good point. And whoever decided to trade Perkins was pretty dumb. No one could believe that trade when it happened. They needed his size in the playoffs.

  • RefCalls-TopFlops staff

    Haha. That’s a good one. And a good point.