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Thunder-Mavericks (Game 5): Most important ref calls and no-calls: Dallas didn’t benefit during comeback win

May 27th, 2011 15 comments

Because we’ve had such amazing comeback wins (or meltdowns, depending on how you look at it) late in the 4th quarter of both the Western and Eastern Conference finals games the past two nights, we’ve decided to focus on the ref calls and no-calls from the 4th quarters of both Game 5s that closed out both series. The 4th quarter is when most of the important calls occurred, and those calls could have had an impact on the game, so we decided to take a deeper look.

Below is video from Wednesday night’s Oklahoma City-Dallas 4th quarter that closed it out for the Mavericks. We’ve concluded that Dallas’ comeback in the fourth quarter was not a result of the refs calling too many fouls against Oklahoma City since Dallas had more wrong calls/no-calls against them than OKC.

We’ll have video from Thursday’s Miami-Chicago game coming out later today.

In this video, you’ll see the following clips.

  • Ref Monty McCutchen will incorrectly call a foul against OKC’s Russell Westbrook when it appeared he got “all ball” on a block of a shot of Dallas’ Shawn Marion. Marion would go on to make 1-of-2 free throws to cut the OKC lead to 83-77.
  • The refs don’t call a foul on OKC’s James Harden when he appears to push off on Dallas’ Jose Barea, perhaps because Barea has a history of flopping and he tried to sell this one like he has done with others. Harden would go on to score a basket to give OKC an 87-79 lead.
  • The video is inconclusive if the ball went off Dallas’ Jason Kidd or Chicago’s Nick Collison. Ref Monty McCutchen called the ball off of Kidd.
  • The refs miss an arguable travel by OKC’s Kevin Durant driving to the basket, and also miss him pushing off a bit on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler, although the push-off could have been incidental. Durant would go on to score to make the game 92-86.
  • Ref Derrick Stafford will call a blocking foul on OKC’s Eric Maynor when it appeared he was established defensively before Dallas’ Shawn Marion ran into him. Marion would go on to make 2 free throws to cut OKC’s lead down to 92-90.
  • The refs miss some contact that Dallas’ Jason Terry applies on OKC’s Russell Westbrook as he’s putting up a shot, but it didn’t hurt OKC much because Kevin Durant would score on the ensuing possession.
  • Ref Jason Phillips calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler on OKC’s Russell Westbrook when a foul didn’t appear to be warranted. However, OKC would turn the ball over on the ensuing possession, so it didn’t hurt Dallas.
  • The refs made the correct no-call to not call a foul against Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when he and OKC’s Russell Westbrook were going after a rebound.
  • Ref Derrick Stafford incorrectly calls a foul against Dallas’ Tyson Chandler on OKC’s Russell Westbrook on a drive to the basket.

Bulls-Heat (Game 4): Select ref calls & no-calls, sans all the missed travels (coming later)

May 25th, 2011 9 comments

Below are select ref calls and no-calls from last night’s game between Chicago and Miami. We’ve also included a couple of calls that were really tough that the refs correctly made, to their credit.

We are planning on releasing a video before Game 5 (hopefully) of all the more obvious travels (20+) that have been missed by the refs in Games 3 & 4 of this series. When you have players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose playing in the same game, it adds a significant amount of time to create these videos if you want to cover all of the travels fairly (and show how bad the league and refs are in enforcing them).

So we’ve decided to try to tackle that feat through a separate project coming up soon. However, the final clip in THIS video DOES include one of the most important missed travels of the game — the shot made by LeBron James that put the game away for Miami.

In the video above, you’ll see the following clips:

  • Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony when it didn’t look like he made contact with Chicago’s Derrick Rose.
  • Ref Ed Malloy will incorrectly call a charging foul on Chicago’s Luol Deng while Miami’s Chris Bosh was still moving laterally.
  • Ref Bennett Salvatore will incorrectly rule the ball went off Miami’s Chris Bosh‘s hand before going out of bounds when it really went off Chicago’s Taj Gibson‘s hand.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will correctly call an offensive foul against Chicago’s Luol Deng for leaning into Miami’s LeBron James.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will miss an obvious violation of Kyle Korver fouling an opponent when chasing after a loose ball, but fortunately ref Bennett Salvatore covered for Crawford’s omission and called the violation, probably thinking Crawford was going to call it, but when he didn’t, Salvatore had to blow his whistle late. Better late than never, though.
  • Two refs will call a shooting foul on Miami’s Dwayne Wade when it appears he didn’t make contact with Chicago’s Luol Deng wrist or arm.
  • Ref Ed Malloy made the correct call when Chicago’s Joakim Noah charged into Miami’s Udonis Haslem, and having to do it while ref Joe Crawford was calling an incorrect blocking foul on Haslem, which fortunately Malloy overruled.
  • Ref Bennett Salvatore will correctly call a foul on Miami’s LeBron James for charging into Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Dwyane Wade when it appeared he did nothing wrong with Chicago’s Luol Deng when Deng lost control of the ball on his own.
  • The refs will miss an obvious traveling call by Miami’s LeBron James as he hits a jumper that puts the game away and secures a victory.

Mavericks-Thunder (Game 4): The ref calls from an epic comeback (or blown victory) game

May 24th, 2011 17 comments

Here’s select ref calls from last night’s Dallas-Oklahoma City game. Since it was a classic game, it deserved thorough analysis (thus, the reason it took a littler longer than normal to get this out).

Here’s a summary of the calls (described in detail below). We don’t claim these are all of them, but a pretty thorough representation.

Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing Dallas – 5
Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing OKC – 8

Wrong calls/no-calls by refs:

  • Dan Crawford – 6
  • Tony Brothers – 2
  • Ken Mauer – 2
  • Shared among multiple refs – 4

In the video above, you’ll see clips of the following:

  • The refs miss OKC’s Kevin Durant creating space with his left arm on Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson on his way to his spectacular dunk that was key to getting past Stevenson. Should have been an offensive foul on Durant.
  • Ref Dan Crawford calls a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison for light contact on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki that he really sells. The other refs much closer to the play than Crawford didn’t blow their whistle or raise their arm. Should have been a no-call.
  • Ref Ken Mauer correctly calls a foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry, but OKC’s Eric Maynor does a good job of selling/flopping to get the foul called.
  • Ref Tony Brothers will call a foul on OKC’s Russell Westbrook when he looked established defensively before Dallas’ Jose Barea ran into him. But because Westbrook flopped to help sell it, Brothers might have been more compelled to call the foul against Westbrook.
  • Ref Dan Crawford missed a travel by OKC’s Kendrick Perkins right before Perkins scored on a layup.
  • ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy ribs the OKC fans for chanting insults in unison at the refs for a call that was obviously the correct one.
  • Ref Dan Crawford incorrectly calls a foul against Dallas’ Shawn Marion for aggressively trying to deny the ball from OKC’s Kevin Durant.
  • The refs missed a foul from Dallas’ Jason Kidd on OKC’s Kevin Durant that led to a “steal” by the Mavericks.
  • The refs will miss a foul on OKC’s James Harden, who hit Jason Terry‘s wrist on a 3-point shot attempt.
  • A tough call/no-call that could have gone either way between Dallas’ Jason Terry and OKC’s Serge Ibaka where Ibaka might have been moving slightly under Terry on a shot attempt, but Terry was also selling it a bit.
  • Ref Ken Mauer will call a ball out-of-bounds off an OKC player when it looked like it went off Dallas’ Brendan Haywood.
  • Ref Dan Crawford will call a “flagrant 1″ foul on Dallas’ Brendan Haywood when it looked like he didn’t make contact with OKC’s Kevin Durant when he brought his arms down.
  • Ref Ken Mauer will call a foul on OKC”s Nick Collison when it didn’t look like he made meaningful contact with Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Ref Dan Crawford will call a double foul between OKC’s Serge Ibaka and Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when it looked like Chandler was responsible for initiating the contact.
  • Ref Dan Crawford will call an incorrect foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry when OKC’s Russell Westbrook was the one responsible for initiating contact with Terry by cutting in front of him.
  • Ref Tony Brothers will call a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison when it didn’t look like there was any meaningful contact on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Dallas’ Jason Kidd appeared to travel before he hit a 3-pointer in overtime, although most refs won’t call a travel for the slight upward movement like Kidd had with his pivot foot.

Thunder-Mavericks (Game 2): Lots of wrong and missed calls, interesting stats after you add it all up

May 20th, 2011 17 comments

We reviewed lots of calls (15, our most to date!) from last night’s Oklahoma City-Dallas game (game 2 of the series), and it kept us pretty busy as you’ll see in the video below. Overall, it was much better officiated than Game 1 that “starred” ref Joe Crawford, but there were still enough calls in this game that were pretty questionable.

The number of calls and no-calls we reviewed that favored Dallas was 2 1/2, and those that favored Oklahoma City was 5. This is a raw calculation that doesn’t take into account the impact of the calls/no-calls on the final score, but it’s interesting data nonetheless.

By the way, our video is a little distorted because of some software issues that our vendor hasn’t resolved for us yet, but it still works decent enough.

Here’s a summary of the calls that are in the video above:

  • Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki lifted his pivot foot before releasing the ball on the dribble that led to a dunk, which is a travel (most refs miss this for some reason, which we describe in further detail here).
  • OKC’s Kevin Durant was able to sneak a half-step on his drive to the basket that led to his amazing dunk. Thus, it was a missed travel.
  • Ref Tom Washington made a bad call on Dallas’ Ian Mahinmi when it appeared he made no contact on a driving James Harden.
  • Ref Tom Washington correctly doesn’t call a foul when Dallas’ Jose Barea flops.
  • Ref Bill Spooner appears to call a phantom foul on OKC’s Kendrick Perkins when guarding Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  • Ref Greg Willard called an offensive foul on OKC’s Kevin Durant, which looked legit, although it appeared that Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson sold it really well (so we’ll call this a “push” and deem the call didn’t favor one team over another).
  • Ref Greg Willard appears to correctly call a foul on Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson by applying light contact on OKC’s Kevin Durant, although if he hadn’t called it, no one probably would have had a problem with it. So we’ll also call this one a “push” that didn’t wrongly favor one team over another.
  • Ref Bill Spooner will miss an extended elbow from Dallas’ Tyson Chandler on an illegal screen on OKC’s Kevin Durant.
  • It appears ref Bill Spooner calls a phantom shooting foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry in guarding OKC’s James Harden.
  • OKC’s Nick Collison isn’t established defensively and should have been called for a blocking foul on Dirk Nowitzki, but it didn’t hurt Dallas since Nowitzki went on to score.
  • Ref Tom Washington correctly doesn’t call a foul when Dallas’ Deshawn Stevenson flops on Kevin Durant.
  • Ref Tom Washington calls a shooting foul on Dirk Nowitzki against OKC’s James Harden that probably should have been a no-call.
  • Ref Tom Washington calls a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison when Dallas’ Tyson Chandler was culpable as well, locking up Collison’s arm. Probably should have been a double-foul. We’ll count this as 1/2 a call that favored Dallas.
  • The refs give Dirk Nowitzki 3 free throws when OKC’s Nick Collison fouled him, but everyone misses the fact that Nowitzki lifted his pivot foot during all of this, so it should have been a travel.
  • The refs missed Dallas’ Tyson Chandler pushing of OKC’s Kendrick Perkins to the floor, although a different foul was called a couple of seconds later.

Pacers-Bulls (Game 2): Controversial play with Hibbert late in game shouldn’t have happened

April 19th, 2011 10 comments

Since the 76er-Heat game on Monday night was a blowout where there weren’t any impactful ref calls that could have changed the outcome, we’re going to focus on the Pacers-Bulls game, which was a completely different story.

There were several bad calls (and good calls) in a fairly physical 4th quarter in this game. They are too numerous to go through in this post, but we’ll try to get to some more of them posted on Tuesday. For this post we are featuring what we think will be on Tuesday the most talked about play from the game.

It’s the alleged Roy Hibbert “push-off” foul on Joakim Noah the refs called against Hibbert with one minute remaining in the game, Pacers down 90-85. It was a huge call since it kept the margin wide enough for Chicago to hold on for the win and go up 2-0 in the series.

It’s a tough call to make for most refs. TNT analyst Chris Webber does have a point in his commentary that there was probably enough separation between the two players that made the contact Hibbert initiated “incidental.”

But after looking at the replay many times, it’s still very subjective. If I were the ref, I wouldn’t have made that call because Hibbert’s arm wasn’t creating separation — he already had enough since Noah was originally far enough away from Hibbert, relatively speaking.

However, the point that I’m sure alot of people are missing is that Hibbert’s shot attempt should have been waved off because…HE TRAVELED! Check out the video below where you’ll see Hibbert not only lifts his pivot foot before taking the shot, he puts it down and lifts it again!

The refs who missed this travel are Bob Delaney (#26), Marc Davis (#34), and Rodney Mott (#71).

It’s amazing that refs miss relatively easy travel calls like this one. Have we let the game of basketball get so out-of-hand and away from the rulebook that “expert” TV analysts who used to play in the NBA don’t even look for it anymore? At least you can see in the video on the sidelines that Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau makes a traveling signal with his hands.

In cased you haven’t seen it yet, we address the whole problem of missed travels in the NBA — which is one of the most overlooked aspects of the game in our opinion — in this video at RefCalls.com/missed-travels. Check it out if you have some time.

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.

Analysis: the fouls that got Kobe mad before his homophobic slur

April 14th, 2011 1 comment

We all know Kobe Bryant got into a lot of trouble this week by uttering that infamous homophobic slur. But no one is really talking about the fouls called against him that preceded it.

Well, we take a closer look in the video below.

Kobe was guarded by the Spurs’ James Anderson, battling for position in the post. Anderson was backing into Kobe, and Kobe responded by using his body to get position against Anderson’s moving into him. Both players were making contact with each other, but nothing in our opinion to warrant a foul just against Kobe.

We actually think it should have been a no-call, but if referee Bennie Adams was going to call a foul, he should have called a double-foul on both players because they were equally going after it. Believe us, we’re not Kobe fans nor Laker fans. Just being impartial.

A few seconds later, Kobe got T’d up for a “respect of the game” violation by complaining to Adams demonstrably. Although we think this new rule is silly, Adams’ calling a tech on Kobe isn’t unusual based on what we saw other refs call this season.

We can understand how a self-proclaimed “old schooler” like Kobe could get frustrated by two violations called against him when back in the 90’s when he was a rookie (or a generation before when his father played in the NBA), those fouls would have been unheard of. Not an excuse for yelling what he did, though.

Note: we haven’t included video of Kobe yelling the slur. There’s no sense in doing it, and a quick Google search will reveal what he said that has two words, both starting with “F.”