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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.