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Mavericks-Heat (Game 6): Lowest numbers of missed/wrong calls & missed travels in playoffs

June 13th, 2011 12 comments

We’ve done a preliminary review of all the plays from last night’s Game 6 between Dallas and Miami. There were less wrong and missed ref calls than normal (but we’d still like this number to be reduced for all future games). We counted 12 total, but there were about 10 calls where we couldn’t make an accurate assessment because ABC didn’t show alternate angles like we have seen from other networks earlier in the playoffs and regular season.

Out of the 12 wrong or missed calls where we could make an assessment, 4 of them were to the benefit of the Mavericks for a rough estimate of +4 in points, and 8 favored the Heat for an estimated +10 point difference.

It’s interesting that the number of missed travels decreased from the refs, too, with a total of eight, far below the 28 from Game 5. Perhaps that was due to the continued reluctance (or good Dallas defense, or both) for LeBron James to drive to the basket. But also because maybe as playoff games get more intense and the stakes become higher, like in an elimination game, the game slows down into a half-court game more frequently.

And another reason may be because refs are know to call a lot of ticky-tack fouls — like Joey Crawford or Bill Kennedy — weren’t officiating this game.

Dallas had 3 missed travels that resulted in +4 points in their favor, and Miami had 5 missed travels that resulted in a 2-point advantage.

We’ll try to provide more details, including videos, over the next couple of days. It’s been a long, grueling playoffs for us at RefCalls, especially after pulling an all-nighter to get these important numbers (approximate) to you. So thanks for your patience as we drag ourselves across the finish line.

UPDATE: We have revised our preliminary numbers, as well as provided a video of the missed and wrong ref calls from this game, at this post.

Heat-Mavericks (Game 5): Missed & wrong calls were just about even (but missed travels weren’t)

June 12th, 2011 10 comments

Below are videos of the missed calls from Thursday’s Game 5. Here’s the breakdown of the missed calls per team:

We counted 6 questionable ref calls that helped Dallas gain an extra 5 points, and 7 ref calls that helped Miami gain 5 points. So it was just about even. (Slightly revised from an earlier count)

But the pattern we continue to see with ref Joe Crawford (known to be “whistle happy”) continued: 7 of these calls solely involved Joe Crawford, with 5 of them being “ticky-tack” fouls, one of them a missed charging violation, and another obvious foul that occurred right in front of him that he failed to catch..

We reiterate that these numbers are approximate, and don’t take into account the myriad of variables that wrong or missed calls can have on a team’s point production or points they give up, like players getting in foul trouble earlier, teams put into the “bonus” faster, etc. Since there could be many other variables, if you’re inclined to do it, feel free to come up with your own calculations based on the work we’ve done showing the questionable calls and no-calls.

These videos don’t include missed travels, but we hope that we’ll have enough time to create a separate video of those travels before Game 6 on Sunday night.

But we can tell you the numbers for missed travels were much different than what we’ve seen from previous games — Dallas had more than Miami, and scored more points on those possessions. Part of the reason is because of LeBron James‘ much publicized reluctance to drive to the basket, but also because of Dirk Nowitzki putting the ball on the floor more.

There were approximately 28 missed travels in this game (so you can understand why it takes awhile to break down a game and clip out these plays), and Dallas had a large advantage in points because of them, which was also rare in this series. Preliminarily, the points we counted were 22-13, but we’ll want to confirm those with an additional review of the plays.

Since we’ll probably be short on time, we’ll try to create a video with just the most important missed travels where points were scored on those possessions, if we can even get that out, and confirm the raw number of travels and point differential after a second review of these plays. If we can’t do it before Game 6, then we’ll just move on and focus on our analysis for Game 6.

Here’s the video of missed/wrong calls that helped the Mavericks (down the page is the video of missed/wrong calls that helped the Heat):

1st quarter

  1. Ref Joe Crawford will call a ticky-tack foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony involving Dirk Nowitzki.

2nd quarter

  1. Ref Joe Crawford will call a ticky-tack foul on Miami’s Dwyane Wade involving Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki

3rd quarter

  1. Ref Mike Callahan will call a foul on Miami’s Juwan Howard after Dallas’ Ian Mahinmi sells contact very well.
  2. Ref Joe Crawford doesn’t call a foul on Dallas’ Jason Kidd after hitting Miami’s LeBron James on the wrist.

4th quarter

  1. Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Mario Chalmers involving Dallas’ Jose Barea that doesn’t appear justified.
  2. The refs don’t call a foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki involving Miami’s Dwyane Wade.

Here’s the video of missed/wrong calls that helped the Heat:

1st quarter

  1. Ref Joe Crawford will incorrectly call a blocking violation on Dallas’ Brian Cardinal involving Miami’s Dwyane Wade.

2nd quarter

  1. Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Dallas’ Jose Barea after negligible contact with Miami’s Mario Chalmers. He should have just let it go.

3rd quarter

  1. No violation will be called on Miami’s Joel Anthony for having a forearm with a bent elbow in the back of Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki outside the lower defensive box
  2. No violation will be called on Miami’s Mario Chalmers for an apparent loose ball foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry.
  3. Ref Joe Crawford will call a ticky-tack foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki involving Miami’s Joel Anthony.

4th quarter

  1. The refs arguably should have called a flagrant foul on Miami’s Juwan Howard after fouling Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson.
  2. The refs missed a shooting foul from Miami’s LeBron James on Dallas’ Shawn Marion .

Heat-Mavericks (Game 5): Two big ref calls/no-calls near the end of game

June 10th, 2011 47 comments

We’ll be working on videos of missed calls from Thursday’s Game 5 and publishing them on Saturday and Sunday. But before doing that, we wanted to feature two plays near the end of the game that had an impact on the outcome.

They both occurred with over 2 minutes remaining, so there was still plenty of time for the outcome of the game to be affected by subsequent plays, but they were big plays nonetheless.

The first is of Dirk Nowitzki driving along the baseline where the refs (specifically Bill Kennedy) missed Nowitzki traveling on his way to a dunk that put the Mavericks up 102-100.

Then on the very next possession, it was a tough call for ref Joe Crawford to make at real speed when LeBron James caught the ball as he was driving to the hoop, and was called for a charging violation on Tyson Chandler.

Chandler was established when James charged into him, and Chandler was in the restricted area (or on the line, which is the same thing). The key question is where was James when he “received” the ball? It’s pretty clear he received it in the lower defensive box area, so this was a good call.

The lower defensive box (LDB) is the area between the tip of the free throw circle, down to the end line, and out across the lane a couple of feet to some small hash marks along the end line that are hardly visible, but they are there.

The reason why the LDB is relevant on block-charge situations like this is because the rule makers understood that it would be impossible for a defender to get out of the restricted area quick enough if an opponent on offense received the ball real close to the basket. It would give the offense an unfair advantage. So that’s why they came up with a reasonable amount of space and grant the defender a “waiver” to legally be in the restricted area.

Check out the video below for these two plays.

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.

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

June 9th, 2011 16 comments

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.

Missed travels by Dallas (Game 3). Plus, an admission from Mark Jackson about constant missed traveling

June 8th, 2011 No comments

We know you’re reading this post after Tuesday’s Game 4 in the Finals is over, but we still have some business from Game 3 to finish before moving on to Game 4. We regret we didn’t have enough time to publish a video of all the ref calls we thought the refs got right in Game 3. There was just too much stuff to cover that we believe the refs got wrong, which we’ve done over the past couple of days through other posts.

In the video below are the Dallas travels the refs missed in Game 3 (the Heat’s missed travels are here).

In the video is some of my favorite dialogue from national TV announcers about missed violations from the refs. In the last clip at about the 1:20 mark, Jeff Van Gundy calls out the refs for missing an obvious Jason Kidd travel, which must have made play-by-play guy Mike Breen and analyst Mark Jackson uncomfortable because they had just been raving about how Kidd was so smart to fake out Dwyane Wade to get him to foul him and said nothing about the travel. Personally speaking, we lose alot of respect for announcers who don’t point out the most obvious of travels that are missed.

After Van Gundy opened up about Kidd’s travel that wasn’t called, fellow analyst Mark Jackson let it fly, perhaps because he doesn’t have to worry about keeping his announcing job since he’s “outta there” after these NBA Finals are over, on his way to Golden State.

Here’s what Jackson said about what announcers are inclined to do:

“We fall in love with paying attention to the shot, but we lose sight of the traveling violation that constantly occurs.”

WOW! Beyond the millions he will make as a coach and getting back to the thrill of NBA competition, maybe this is one small reason why Jackson has decided to leave broadcasting and accepted the Golden State Warriors head coaching job on Tuesday — perhaps he’s uncomfortable that as an announcer who has to get viewers excited about the game, it wouldn’t make for good television or make the league look good to mention missed travels every time they occur, and instead talk about the athleticism or the dunk that’s demonstrated during or after the travel.

If Jackson has truly lost sight over time that travels occur, that concerns me that a new head coach in the league can lose sight of something that’s such a prevalent part of the game that gives players (his future opponents) an unfair advantage. For Jackson’s sake, I hope it’s not an indicator of his attention to detail when he’s coaching the Warriors next season.

On to other details about the video above…We had originally calculated 9 missed travels, but after looking at the video closer, we determined that Dirk Nowitzki has really perfected his dribbling such that we had to take out 3 of the plays where we thought he originally traveled.

What Nowitzki is able to do better than what we’ve seen with other players is cut down on the little baby step they take after completing their dribble. He does that by making sure that his hand touches the ball at about the same time the first little step is taken, not before.

As a result, you can’t say he has completed his dribble before his foot touches the floor. But it does take a little bit off of his ability to get past his defender, which is fair since that’s what may have been the intent of the people who originally wrote the rule — so defenders weren’t hung out to dry unfairly.

That means out of the 6 travels, only three were by Nowitzki, two from Jason Kidd, and one by Jose Barea. These six travels still resulted in 7 points being scored in the possessions where they weren’t called.

Here is the order of the Dallas players who had missed traveling violations in the video.

  1. Jason Kidd
  2. Jose Barea
  3. Dirk Nowitzki
  4. Dirk Nowitzki
  5. Jason Kidd
  6. Dirk Nowitzki

Video of missed traveling violations for Heat – Game 3

June 7th, 2011 3 comments

Below is a video of 14 clips of missed traveling violations on the Heat that the refs didn’t catch in Game 3, which resulted in 12 points being scored by Miami on those possessions where they missed the travels.

Next we’ll be publishing a video of the travels the refs missed on the Mavericks.

One of the important themes we point out in the video is when players are able to sneak in a baby step before their first two legal steps. It’s not as much of the step itself that gets them the advantage, but the fact it allows them to lean forward to get past their defender on the first step is huge.

Here’s the overall breakdown of the missed travels in the video. Some of these are very minor, but are violations according to the NBA rulebook based on this analysis.

LeBron James – 7
Chris Bosh – 5
Dwyane Wade – 1
Joel Anthony – 1

Below the video is the sequence of the missed travels by each particular Heat player:

  1. Dwyane Wade
  2. Chris Bosh
  3. LeBron James
  4. Chris Bosh
  5. LeBron James
  6. Joel Anthony
  7. LeBron James
  8. LeBron James
  9. LeBron James
  10. LeBron James
  11. LeBron James
  12. Chris Bosh
  13. Chris Bosh

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.

Dallas-Miami (NBA Finals Game 1): Both halves reviewed. Not equal for Mavs. Refs miss 5 LeBron travels

June 2nd, 2011 9 comments

As some of you may have seen this morning, YouTube took down our video from yesterday that had many of the ref calls we reviewed from the 2nd half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. There are literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of videos on YouTube that have NBA footage in them, but they haven’t been taken down. You’ve got to think with this action the NBA may be noticing how much RefCalls.com is revealing of their game, and they may have a problem with it. Oh well. Whatever.

In the meantime, we have finished creating a new video that has most of the ref calls from the 1st half of Tuesday’s game in the video below. We’ve also appended to the video those calls from the 2nd half from the video taken down this morning, and included a couple of new calls we found, and updated them in the text description below the video.

Probably one of the most glaring stats we found is that LeBron James traveled 5 times with no call from the refs. In the video below, they are at the following time markers: 1:28, 1:59, 7:38, 13:33, and 14:23. In comparison, the refs only missed one Dirk Nowitzki traveling violation.

Here’s a summary of the wrong calls that affected both teams throughout the entire game:

Wrong calls/no-calls that penalized Dallas: 14
Wrong calls/no-calls that penalized Miami: 10

However, as we stated yesterday, not all wrong calls/no-calls are created equal. Those that occur late in the game when the game is in the balance that result in a field goal or free throws are more impactful than others. If you’re a Dallas fan, in addition to the 5 missed travels by LeBron James, you can’t be happy about the calls in the 2nd half (#13, 14, and #16 below). If you’re a Miami fan, you won’t like #12 in the 2nd half. That’s a 3-to-1 disparity in crunch time. Not good for Mav fans.

Another thing is clear: Ref Bill Kennedy called more ticky-tack fouls (5) than the other refs officiating this game, with 4 being called against Dallas players. That’s a tendency to remember for future games, if Kennedy is allowed to ref another Finals game this post-season.

Below is a breakdown of the clips in the video. If you don’t see a clip of a call that you had questions about, it’s most likely because we agreed with the refs’ assessment. There’s just too many questionable calls to include in this video every ref call, including those they got right, and get this video out in a timely manner.

1st half

  1. Ref Mike Callahan will incorrectly call a foul on Miami’s Dwyane Wade when it looked like he got “all ball” in stripping Dallas’ Shawn Marion.
  2. Ref Bill Kennedy will fail to call a defensive 3-second violation on Dallas’ Jason Kidd when he stayed in the lane longer than 3 seconds and wasn’t actively guarding anyone.
  3. The refs will miss a moving screen that Miami’s Chris Bosh applies on Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson.
  4. Ref Mike Callahan calls a foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki when it looks like the contact with Miami’s LeBron James was negligible and was equally shared between both players. Should have been a no-call.
  5. The refs will miss a traveling violation by Miami’s LeBron James.
  6. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s LeBron James as well as charging call into Dallas’ Tyson Chandler.
  7. The refs miss a moving screen on Dallas’ Chris Bosh applied on Dallas’ Jason Kidd.
  8. Ref Bill Kennedy will incorrectly call a foul on Miami’s Mike Bibby, but it doesn’t appear he touches Dallas’ Jason Terry. A secondary defender, Miami’s Chris Bosh, doesn’t appear to make contact with Terry either.
  9. The refs will call a foul on Miami’s LeBron James, which may be legitimate, but Dallas’ Jason Terry will also hit James in the face with his off-hand. Probably best to make it a double foul since Terry was culpable, too.
  10. The refs make the correct no-call when Dallas’ Jose Barea tries to sell a call against Miami’s LeBron James.
  11. The refs fail to call a foul on Miami’s Mike Miller for dislodging Dallas’ Dirk Nowtizki by pushing him in the back to dislodge him, along with using a forearm in the back with a bent elbow outside the lower defensive box.
  12. The refs will call a foul on Dallas’ Brendan Haywood when it’s clear that Miami’s Chris Bosh flopped to draw a loose ball foul. Bad call.
  13. The refs will miss Miami’s Mike Miller applying a forearm with a bent elbow outside the lower defensive box on Dallas’ Shawn Marion.

2nd half

  1. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki lifts his pivot foot before he releases the ball on the dribble. However, his shot is blocked, and looks like a legit block, so Dallas didn’t score on this possession anyway.
  2. Dallas’ Brendan Haywood is correctly called for a blocking foul on Miami’s Dwyane Wade.
  3. The refs will miss a traveling violation on Miami’s LeBron James.
  4. Dallas’ Brendan Haywood lifts his pivot foot before releasing the ball. This was a missed travel. Haywood will get fouled, and will go on to make 1 of 2 free throws.
  5. It looked like Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki travels and goes on to score, but there is no call.
  6. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra comes on to the court during play and walks beyond the hash mark, but the refs don’t warn him. Not a big deal, but kind of funny.
  7. Ref Bill Kennedy, who is the ref farthest away from the play, calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki when it didn’t appear there was any contact, and none of the other refs made the signal.
  8. Ref Steve Javie incorrectly calls a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when Miami’s Udonis Haslem had his arm wrapped around Chandler’s body trying to get around him.
  9. Ref Bill Kennedy calls a ticky-tack foul on Dallas’ Deshawn Stevenson when there is incidental contact between himself and Miami’s Udonis Haslem.
  10. Ref Bill Kennedy calls a ticky-tack foul on Miami’s Mike Miller when he doesn’t make any contact on Dallas’ Shawn Marion..
  11. Ref Steve Javie correctly calls a foul on Miami’s LeBron James, who runs into Dallas’ Tyson Chandler.
  12. Ref Mike Callahan misses a forearm with a bent elbow on Dallas’ Shawn Marion from Miami’s Mike Miller outside the lower defensive box, followed by Marion bulling into Miller, but Callahan calling the foul on Miller. Marion’s basket and penalty free throw cuts the Miami lead to 77-73 with 3:53 remaining.
  13. Ref Mike Callahan incorrectly calls a foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, who appeared to strip the ball clean from Miami’s Chris Bosh. Bosh would make two free throws to extend Miami’s lead to 79-73 with 3:44 remaining.
  14. The refs miss Miami’s LeBron James travel when he drives to the basket for a dunk, and ref Bill Kennedy calls a questionable foul on Dallas’ Shawn Marion, who appeared to have light and inadvertent contact on James’ head (but it shouldn’t have even reached that point since the travel was missed). The basket and penalty free throw by James extends the lead to 85-75 with 2:47 remaining.
  15. The refs miss Miami’s LeBron James slide his pivot foot, which is a traveling violation, and then will miss Dallas’ Shawn Marion making contact with James’ head, but no foul is called. The refs call a 24-second violation on Miami instead.
  16. Ref Bill Kennedy calls a ticky-tack foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry involving Miami’s Mario Chalmers, who appeared to flop on very little contact. Chalmers would make both free throws to extend Miami’s lead to 87-79 with 1:22 remaining.

If the NBA was a legendary restaurant, many customers would want improvement

May 31st, 2011 4 comments

Since launching RefCalls.com several weeks ago — and analyzing in detail ref calls over the past couple of years — it’s no secret that we and many others are still astonished by the high number of wrong and missed calls that refs make in NBA games.

We still like to give refs some credit when they correctly make some tough calls. You’ll also hear lots of basketball analysts on TV say things like, “There is no harder sport to officiate than an NBA game.” As we head into the marquee event of the season – the NBA Finals — we’ll agree with most of that, but we still believe there is lots of room for improvement.

If you just look at the video below that we put together a few days ago of many of the missed travels during games 3 & 4 of the Miami-Chicago series, you’ll get an understanding of just SOME of the missed calls and bad calls we have featured in a few dozen videos over the past few weeks.

When you think about it, the Navy SEALS (or Army Rangers, Green Berets, and other U.S. Special Ops Forces) have a tough job, too. To become one, you have to overcome some of the toughest mental and physical tests known to man. Their training program and selection process is legendary.

From what we’ve heard, the top annual pay of a SEAL is in the $50k range. On the other hand, we know some of the most senior NBA refs earn over $200k per year. So anyone who says the refs have a tough job is still correct, but when you put it in context, a lot more improvement can be expected based off how much they earn per year in comparison to people with much tougher jobs who make a lot less. For that matter, we all can improve in what we do for a living based on the excellence of the Navy SEALs.

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