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Nuggets-Thunder (Game 2): No ref controversy, but examples of one bad call and a good one

April 21st, 2011 6 comments

In Wednesday’s first playoff game, Oklahoma City easily handled Denver 106-89. So there weren’t that many important calls that were blown that could have changed the outcome of the game. However, we did want to feature a couple of intriguing calls in the video below.

The first one has Denver’s J.R. Smith driving the lane, getting hacked on the arm, but no call being made by the closest ref to the action, Rodney Mott (#71). Through our watching lots of video of ref calls, for some reason most ref crews subconsciously put the responsibility of making a call like this on the ref closet to the play along the baseline, although any ref can call it. It just goes to show there’s some human psychology involved when other refs are reluctant to call a foul and “show up” another ref that is closer to the action, in our opinion.

The second play in the video shows Russell Westbrook pushing off in mid-air. We’ve seen this kind of call get missed alot (it is a difficult one to make at times), but Monty McCutchen (#13) got it right, and he’s farther away from the play than Mott is. Analyst Mike Fratello states that two officials got it right, but we slowed the video down and it was McCutchen who blew his whistle first. Perhaps after the first play that Mott missed, McCutchen took it upon himself to make the call on this play regardless of where he was situated.

From our observations, we see countless times where one ref will signal a violation in reaction to a fellow ref who has already done it order to provide support. We don’t have a problem with that, but Fratello’s claim that both refs got it right is a difficult one to prove, and is therefore irrelevant.

No-call for Bulls seals home court advantage in the Finals

April 15th, 2011 No comments

On Wednesday night, the Bulls and the Nets played their final game of the regular season. If the Bulls win that game, their chances of getting home court advantage in the NBA Finals, if they get that far, go way up.

With 28 seconds remaining in the game, the Bulls were up 92-90, but the Nets had the ball with a chance to tie the game. New Jersey’s Brook Lopez drove to the basket for a dunk, but was fouled by Taj Gibson on the wrist, and no foul was called by any of the refs — Ken Mauer, Courtney Kirkland, and Kane Fitzgerald — all who had a good view of the play.

In this video we freeze-frame Lopez getting fouled by Gibson with no call.

Furthermore, we watch alot of games here at RefCalls.com, and it amazes us how clueless announcers are for most NBA teams. On this play, the Chicago announcers were so enamored with Kurt Thomas‘ block on Lopez, they completely ignored the foul that Gibson committed on Lopez right before Thomas blocked the shot. To top it off, the announcers then have the gall to criticize Lopez for not going strong to the rack. It looked like a very strong move to the hole to us!

Later in the same game there WAS a call the refs did make, but it wronged the Nets, as described by our sister site TopFlops.com

A few minutes earlier, referee Courtney Kirkland (#61) called Lopez for a personal foul with 5:22 remaining when Thomas clearly flopped playing defense on Lopez. Lopez did a slight hook of his arm on Thomas, and once he felt it… “Down goes Frazier!”

This was a huge call in favor of Chicago since they were TRAILING 84-81 at the time, and turned the ball over to the Bulls, who went on to overcome the deficit and win the game, thanks also to the no-call on Taj Gibson.

At least the Chicago announcers acknowledged that it was an Oscar-worthy flop by Thomas.

It turns out Chicago’s win and San Antonio’s loss gave the Bulls the best record in the league, assuring them of home court throughout the playoffs. But if San Antonio had won, forcing a tie and a drawing to see which would team would get home court advantage in the Finals (if they were to play each other), these blown calls would have been a lot more controversial (or should have been).