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Heat-Mavericks (Game 4): Unique ref calls (good and bad) from the game

June 9th, 2011 5 comments

Below is a video of select calls from Game 4 that we didn’t include in the missed calls video we published earlier today, which are all pretty interesting in our mind. We agree with most of them, but there are two plays we reviewed that will slightly change some of the calculations we made earlier. Here are the two plays in question:

– At the 1:31 mark is when Dwyane Wade makes a spin move, goes up for a dunk, loses control of the ball in mid-air, then the ball drops through the basket without touching the rim. This appears to be legal since he didn’t “vibrate the rim, net or backboard so as to cause the ball to make an unnatural bounce.” So Wade is lucky that the ball didn’t touch the rim. However, a couple of seconds before Wade grabbed on to the rim, he made a spin move around his defender by lifting his pivot foot before releasing the ball. The refs missed this travel, so in essence, the basket by Wade shouldn’t have counted.

– At the 2:09 mark is the potential clear-path violation that the refs didn’t call on Miami’s Mike Miller when he made contact with Dallas’ Jason Kidd. After close review of the play and the rulebook, we believe the refs missed it since Kidd had control of the ball when he tapped it forward. The rulebook says a dribble can be a “tap” or a “throw” if the player is in “control” when he does it. Kidd appears to be fully in control of his body when he does “tap” it forward.

These two plays would revise our stats to the following for this game…

Non-traveling oriented violations missed or ruled incorrectly:

The refs missed or got wrong 10 calls that benefitted Miami (rather than 9), which resulted in 12 extra points (approximately) advantageous to the Heat (instead of 10). This is in comparison to the two missed or wrong calls that helped Dallas, resulting in 2 extra points (roughly speaking).

Number of missed travels:

Miami had 9 of these (instead of 8). Dwyane Wade had 6 of them, not 5. These 9 travels resulted in 7 points being scored by the Heat, which is one more than what Dallas scored (6) from missed travels.

Dallas-Miami (NBA Finals Game 2) – Complete ref call analysis: missed travels still the big story

June 4th, 2011 29 comments

We have finally completed our exhaustive review of Game 2 of the NBA Finals between Dallas and Miami played Thursday night. At least 25 ref calls were incorrectly made or missed — Whew! It also took a little longer than normal since we’re using a new video hosting platform which takes more time to upload and process our videos compared to our previous hosting provider – YouTube.

These Finals games deserve the utmost scrutiny since so many people are watching them. But they are killers to review, especially considering all of the missed traveling violations from known offenders playing in these games.

Speaking of travels, we counted up the number of missed travels in the game, and they are the following:

Miami:
Dwyane Wade – 5
Chris Bosh - 2
LeBron James - 1

Dallas:
Dirk Nowitzki – 3
Jose Barea - 1
Peja Stojakovic - 1

It’s interesting that after Game 1, in which James scored 24 points and at least 5 of his travels were missed, that he only had 1 traveling violation missed in Game 2 while “only” scoring 20 points, probably in deference to his teammate Wade, who was more of the aggressor.

Wade scored 36 points in Game 2, more than the 22 he scored in Game 1. As a result, his number of missed travels went up from 0 to 5. This continues to affirm our past research that the more a player scores in a game (an indicator of aggressiveness on offense), there’s a pretty strong correlation with the number of traveling violations the refs will miss along the way to scoring all those points.

It’s also interesting as Miami’s offense started to shut down in the 4th quarter as they lost their big lead settling for jump shots, their number of missed travels went down to zero for the quarter. It just goes to show that the more aggressive you are as a player, and the more you are able to sneak in an extra “baby step” to help you drive past your defender (which the rulebook doesn’t allow, BTW), the more the refs will reward you by not calling a travel.

It’s sad this is something players can exploit that most fans don’t even notice. But until the refs start calling more travels to clean up the game (and players will adjust to it, in our opinion), fans will continue to be in the dark about it. In the meantime, it will continue to be one of the keys to winning games if you’re inclined to use the refs’ blase attitude about calling travels against them.

In the last clip of the video, you’ll see that Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki traveled a couple of times on his game-winning shot. They weren’t very obvious at real speed, but if you slow it down like we did, the travels were there.

Like we continue to say, though, these travels are difficult to detect as they occur. But it can’t hurt if the refs were given more training to detect these violations. Kind of like police officers getting trained to decide in a split second if they need to fire their weapon in a potentially threatening situation. Just the premise that refs are more inclined to call a travel might make more players change some of their moves to be in compliance with the official rulebook, which could change the game for the better.

For what it’s worth, in between the two missed travels on Nowitzki’s game winner, he did have one of the most unique moves we’ve ever seen a player make while dribbling the basketball. We’ve broken that move down for you in the video.

Would there be much more parity in the NBA if the refs started calling more traveling violations on high-priced players who we know travel alot, like Wade, James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kobe Bryant (just to name a few)? Would there be more value placed on building teams with players who are more well-rounded than being forced to pay huge amounts of money for free agents who have mastered their ball handling skills to score going one-on-one, bending the rules in their favor, like using those little baby steps that help them past their defender more easily. Could the whole concept of needing at least two superstars (and needing to pay out the nose for it) to win a championship become a thing of the past?

But of course, the league could be mighty scared of moving away from the superstar model, although we think the stars would continue to shine in other ways. And there is the argument the pie (a.k.a. “revenue”) gets a lot bigger when you have more parity in a league.

Also in this game, referee Joe Crawford continued his penchant for calling ticky-tack fouls, calling at least 5 “touch” fouls that weren’t warranted, much more than the other refs by far.

Here is a breakdown of the calls in the video above:

1st Quarter:

  1. Ref Joe Crawford misses a travel by Miami’s Dwyane Wade that occurs right in front of him, but no call.
  2. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki
  3. Ref Ken Mauer incorrectly calls a foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony according to the NBA’s official play-by-play data, but it doesn’t appear Anthony fouled Dallas’ Tyson Chandler. Perhaps Miami’s Chris Bosh was worthy of receiving the foul, but there was no way Mauer could have seen Bosh’s contact since he was shielded from Bosh on the play.
  4. The refs will miss a moving screen on Miami’s Mike Bibby, but there is no call.
  5. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s Dwyane Wade.
  6. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s Chris Bosh.
  7. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s Dwyane Wade, which leads to a 3-pointer by Miami’s Mike Bibby.
  8. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s Dwyane Wade.
  9. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Dallas’ Peja Stojakovic.

2nd Quarter:

  1. Ref Joe Crawford will call a ticky-tack foul on Miami’s Udonis Haslem involving Dallas’ Jason Terry.
  2. The refs will miss a traveling violation (double-dribble) on Dallas’ Jose Barea.
  3. The refs will incorrectly call a technical foul on Miami’s Mike Miller after Miller lightly pushes Dallas’ Jose Barea off of him, who fell on top of him forcefully. If Miller deserved a technical, then Barea did, too, who only received a personal foul. This technical on Miller sent Dallas to the line for a technical foul free throw.
  4. The refs miss two traveling violations by Miami’s Chris Bosh, then a couple of seconds later miss a basket interference violation by Miami’s Dwyane Wade, who grabs the ball above the imaginary cylinder and dunks it.
  5. The refs will miss a traveling violation by Miami’s LeBron James.
  6. Ref Ken Mauer will make a no-call involving Dallas’ Tyson Chandler as Miami’s Dwyane Wade is driving to the basket for a score. A difficult call given the contact from Chandler is very light. Wade doesn’t help himself by not even looking up at the basket when he is putting up his shot, relying on the ref to make a call. If Wade had looked up, he might have received the call. Our opinion is that the ref made the correct no-call since a lot more contact than Chandler’s is rightfully allowed throughout every game, with no call.
  7. Ref Joe Crawford will call a ticky-tack foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry after a flop by Miami’s Mario Chalmers.
  8. Ref Joe Crawford will call a questionable foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler

3rd Quarter:

  1. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s Dwyane Wade, which helps him pump fake on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler, get him fouled, and send Wade to the line for 2 free throws.
  2. The refs will incorrectly call a technical foul on Dallas coach Rick Carlisle after Dirk Nowitzki incorrectly receives a personal foul violation after Miami’s LeBron James puts an elbow into his chest.
  3. The refs will miss calling a personal foul on Dallas’ Brian Cardinal after he makes contact with the face of Miami’s Mike Bibby, and leaves his hand on Bibby’s face for a prolonged amount of time.
  4. It appears that ref Joe Crawford will incorrectly call a foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry, who appeared to cleanly strip Miami’s Dwyane Wade of the ball, sending Wade to the free throw line.

4th Quarter:

  1. It appears that ref Ken Mauer made the correct call by assigning a traveling violation on Miami’s LeBron James after he gained possession of the ball.
  2. The refs miss a traveling violation on Dallas’ Dirk Nowtizki
  3. Ref Joe Crawford will incorrectly call a foul on Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who doesn’t appear to make any contact with Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  4. The refs correctly make a no-call after Miami’s LeBron James claim he was hit when he missed a layup.
  5. Ref Ed Malloy will incorrectly call a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when it appeared that Miami’s LeBron James might have pushed off with his right forearm.
  6. The refs miss two different traveling violations on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.

Heat-Bulls (Game 5): 4th quarter ref call analysis – surprising number of wrong calls

May 28th, 2011 3 comments

As mentioned in our previous post, we are focusing on the 4th quarter of the two Game 5s that were played in both conferences on Wednesday and Thursday night.

As you know by now, both games were won by Dallas and Miami, respectively, through huge comebacks late in the game. But we thought it would be interesting to see if there were any wrong calls or no-calls that could have changed the outcome of both games.

Dallas overcame a 15-point deficit with less than 5 minutes remaining to eliminate Oklahoma City on Wednesday (4th quarter analysis is here), and Miami came back from a 12-point deficit with less than 4 minutes remaining to eliminate Chicago on Thursday.

In the video below, you’ll see some of the major calls from the 4th quarter of the Heat-Bulls game on Thursday night. Some were correct, but many were wrong, including A MISSED LANE VIOLATION while Derrick Rose was shooting his free throw that should have given Chicago another chance to make it (he missed the attempt) that would have tied the game with less than 30 seconds remaining!

No one we have seen or heard has brought up this no-call, but it’s clear it was a violation, and could have completely changed the outcome of the game and the series!

Here’s a breakdown of the ref calls and no-calls featured in the video above, with the time remaining on the clock in the 4th quarter when it happened:

  • 7:44 – A very difficult block-charge call involving Miami’s LeBron James and Chicago’s Kurt Thomas. Thomas was called for a block, but it looked like it should have been a charge on James.
  • 6:42 – Ref Greg Willard called a foul on Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer when it appeared that Miami’s LeBron James flopped to draw a foul after light contact from Brewer.
  • 5:55 – The refs miss a blocking violation on Chicago’s Kurt Thomas. His foot was in the restricted area as Miami’s Chris Bosh drove to the basket.
  • 5:17 – The refs correctly make a no-call when Chicago’s Derrick Rose lightly touches Miami’s Dwyane Wade driving to the basket.
  • 1:48 – The refs miss a travel by Chicago’s Derrick Rose right before he scores a basket that gave Chicago a 7-point lead.
  • 1:31 – Ref Scott Foster correctly calls a foul on Chicago’s Derrick Rose after fouling Miami’s Dwyane Wade shooting a 3-pointer.
  • 0:28 – The refs arguably miss a travel (“carry”) by Chicago’s Derrick Rose as he drives to the basket.
  • 0:27 – The refs miss a lane violation by Miami’s Chris Bosh as Chicago’s Derrick Rose misses a free throw that could have tied the game. Rose should have been given another opportunity to shoot the free throw again.
  • 0:01 – Miami’s LeBron James blocks Chicago’s Derrick Rose on a 3-point attempt. James does make some contact with Rose’s hand on the follow-through, but because he had already blocked the shot, the contact was ruled incidental. After the game, Rose said he thought he was not fouled, confirming the call by the ref was the correct call.

Hornets-Lakers (Game 5): Physical game results in lots of calls, flops and questions about the officiating

April 27th, 2011 14 comments

Obviously the best game on Tuesday was the Hornets-Lakers game since that series was tied up 2-2 going into it, and the other games (Atlanta-Orlando and Chicago-Indiana) ended up being blowouts without any calls that had a bearing on the outcome.

L.A.-New Orleans was physical that had lots of contact, and thus more questionable calls than we’ve been seeing lately from playoff games. The one foul that struck us was the one that TNT analyst Reggie Miller said “could easily have been a flagrant” was when Kobe Bryant came down hard on Emeka Okafor‘s head, not going for the ball, and seemed to keep his arm wrapped around Okafor’s head excessively as his neck was forced backwards. That play is featured at the end of the video around the 3:30 mark. Bryant only received a regular personal foul.

Surprisingly, it appeared that none of Okafor’s fellow players saw it because you would normally expect a teammate to come to Okafor’s defense and retaliate by giving Bryant a shove or something.

The following video shows fouls and calls (against and for) both teams, giving you the opportunity to make your own decision on if the calls and no-calls were correct or not. Note: we didn’t include the elbow that Marco Bellinelli received in the face because it looked fairly accidental.

Mavericks-Blazers (Game 4): Questionable calls/no-calls analyzed from classic comeback game

April 24th, 2011 21 comments

Although there were some great playoff games played Saturday, the one between Portland and Dallas was incredible to watch, so we’re going to feature that one since it had some crucial ref calls and no-calls that could have had a bearing on the outcome. On Sunday we’ll feature a call or two from the Denver-Oklahoma City game.

The Indiana-Chicago game on Saturday was a close one, but surprisingly we didn’t see any controversial calls down the stretch that could have changed the outcome. Same goes for the San Antonio-Memphis game.

Rather than describe some of the Maverick-Blazer game calls through text, we’ll do it through the video below:

Grizzlies-Spurs (Game 2): Was this a charge or block? Plus, a good no-call on major flop

April 21st, 2011 5 comments

For a game that was relatively close Wednesday night between San Antonio and Memphis, fortunately we didn’t see any terrible calls down the stretch that would have changed the outcome of the game.

However, we did want to feature one foul in the 3rd quarter that we thought was very questionable. Check it out in the video below and see if you agree with referee Leon Wood (#40). We know many of you will say there were many more questionable calls than this, but we have to pick-and-choose one of the best, okay?

In the second clip, we feature an Oscar-winning performance by Memphis forward Shane Battier, which the refs correctly called as a no-call.

While checking these clips out, also listen to the overflowing remarks about Manu Ginobili from Spurs’ broadcasters Bill Land and former player Sean Elliott. It was drooling remarks like these the whole game that prompted ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons to tweet what’s posted below the video player. (We just had to throw it in there).

Bill Simmons’ tweets about the Spurs’ announcers 4/20/11

Hornets-Lakers (Game 2): A big carry by Kobe undetected? Plus, 2 fouls on Kobe legit despite the whining

April 21st, 2011 38 comments

In Wednesday night’s Hornets-Lakers game, there weren’t any bad calls or no-calls down the stretch that would have changed the outcome of the game.

However, we were struck by one no-call of traveling against Kobe Bryant that looked like a violation to us, and 3 other rulings against him that were correct by ref Tony Brothers (#25).

We hate to say it, but two of the clips in the video below reveal how much of a complainer Kobe is when it’s obvious he is wrong, and when he knows he’s wrong. It’s nothing new, but always good to see video proof in slow motion.

On Thursday, we’ll be posting some video of calls/no-calls from the Grizzlies-Spurs game that was played Wednesday night. So stay tuned.

Good no-call on Manu’s injury-inducing flop

April 9th, 2011 4 comments

NBA referee Jason Phillips (#23) deserves a lot of credit for not being duped by Manu Ginobili’s flop against the Grizzlies on March 28th.

As written on our sister site TopFlops.com

It just goes to show if you flop enough like Manu does (ranked #2 in a recent Sports Illustrated players’ poll), you’re eventually going to get hurt.

Because of the thigh contusion he suffered as he jerked his leg up against Marc Gasol trying to draw a foul, Ginobili only played 19 minutes, scored two points, and the Spurs ended up losing the game.

Wouldn’t it have been something if the Spurs had lost home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs by one game, and this loss against a beatable Grizzlies team with Ginobili not playing a complete game being one of the reasons why?

At the 1:05 mark, you can see it’s not just us saying Ginobili got hurt because of the flop…even the Memphis announcers say it!