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2-of-4 playoff games free of bad, impactful calls Saturday. Funny moment in one of them, though

April 17th, 2011 2 comments

Two of the four playoff games today didn’t really have any controversial calls that affected the outcome of the game, so there’s really nothing to report there. Those games were Atlanta at Orlando, and Portland at Dallas.

Unfortunately, Indiana at Chicago and Philadelphia at Miami had a couple of controversial calls (or no-calls) at the end of their games, which you can read about here and here, respectively.

Speaking of the 76er-Heat game…on the lighter side, here’s something you probably have never seen: a ref showing compassion to an NBA player.

Thaddeus Young was working his butt off in the 76er-Heat game, huffing-and-puffing running around the court. It looks like in the video below he was telling referee Bill Spooner (#22) that he was exhausted, and the ref looks like he tried to show some sympathy toward Young by giving him a pat on the back — literally!

We don’t have a problem with a ref showing a human side. Players do that often with refs, and it happens occasionally the other way around. This is a unique display of it, though. Again, not a problem to us and we’re not making fun of it. But we do chuckle at what Spooner does with his hands after touching his back. I guess he was surprised how sweaty Thaddeus was!

Hopefully Spooner will catch a break from the press on this, especially since he’s the same ref suing a sportswriter for defamation. Don’t mess with Spooner!

Heat vs. 76ers (Game 1): Wade pushes off with leg on big basket and gets away with it

April 16th, 2011 No comments

A big no-call occurred in the Miami-76er game today. Miami was leading 90-87 with about 1:36 remaining when Dwyane Wade drove to the basket, went airborne, extended his leg to create separation between himself and Thaddeus Young, scored and Young was called for a foul.

What should have happened is that Wade should have been called for an offensive foul, with the 76ers getting the ball. But instead ref Bob Delaney (#26) blew the call, and the basket and penalty free throw basically sealed the win for the Heat.

The rulebook clearly states:

A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by extending a hand, arm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal. Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately.

In another part, it states:

An offensive foul shall be assessed if the player initiates contact in a non-basketball manner (leads with his foot, an unnatural extended knee, etc.).

You’ll hear analyst Jeff Van Gundy reference this fact somewhat, but he didn’t seem quite sure if using the leg to create separation is legal or not. At first he said it could “easily be construed” as a foul, then later compliments Wade for creating nice separation with his leg. Maybe he was being sarcastic on the second remark. Not only could it be construed as an offensive foul, it SHOULD be a foul based on the rulebook’s language.

It would have nice if fellow ref Sean Wright (#65), who also had a decent angle on the play, had come over to Delaney to correct him and let him know it was an offensive foul on Wade, then have the refs wave off the basket and the foul. But you’ll never see that happen on a play like this, especially when you have a legend like Delaney making a call like this in front a boisterous home crowd going crazy (in a good way) after the foul call.

What’s a shame is that Delaney did a good job NOT calling a foul right before Wade extended his leg when there was incidental contact between Wade and Young on Wade’s drive. We absolutely hate it when refs call ticky-tack fouls when contact is negligible, and the rulebook even states that refs have discretion in determining what’s incidental or not. So good for Delaney for not calling a foul on the incidental contact.

But when a player extends his leg to create separation, that goes too far. Too bad it had an effect on the outcome of Game 1 of what will be a very entertaining series.