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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.

Mavericks-Thunder (Game 3): First half pretty clean of bad calls, but second half made up for it

May 22nd, 2011 18 comments

In last night’s Dallas-Oklahoma City game, there weren’t that many bad calls in the first half. Dallas was running away with it, so maybe that had something to do with it.

But in the second half, the bad calls and wrong no-calls increased as the game got tighter as OKC made their comeback. Makes you wonder if a correlation is there. Hmmm….You can decide for yourself in the video below.

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 (Don’t get mad, OKC fans. If you see some we missed, you can report them here in the RefCalls forums):

Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing Dallas – 8
Wrong calls/no-calls penalizing OKC – 3

Wrong calls/no-calls by refs:

  • Scott Foster – 5
  • Marc Davis – 4
  • Bob Delaney – 1
  • Shared among multiple refs – 1

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

  • Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler after OKC’s Kendrick Perkins had his arm wrapped around Chandler’s neck.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Brendan Haywood, but with the help of some good selling by OKC’s Nick Collison.
  • Dallas’ Shawn Marion will drive to the basket and seems to get fouled intentionally by OKC’s Thabo Sefolosha, but there was no call.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler for fouling OKC’s Russell Westbrook, but it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Scott Foster calls a technical on OKC’s Russell Westbrook, which didn’t seem all that major, when it was actually in response to a little shove from Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki. This should have been a no-call.
  • Ref Marc Davis will call a technical foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler for elbowing OKC’s James Harden in the face. Although there was contact worthy of a foul, Harden sold it well by dropping to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
  • The refs made a correct no-call on a ball that OKC’s James Harden lost as he was going up. The OKC fans thought Dirk Nowitzki had fouled him, which wasn’t the case.
  • The refs made a correct no-call for not calling a traveling violation on Dallas’ Shawn Marion when many of the OKC fans thought he traveled.
  • The refs seemed to miss a charging call on OKC’s Kevin Durant when Dallas’ Jason Kidd beat him to the spot.
  • Ref Scott Foster called a foul on Dallas’ Jose Barea when it looked like he didn’t make any contact (or negligible contact) on OKC’s Russell Westbrook.
  • Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when it didn’t look like there was any significant contact.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a foul on Dallas’ Jose Barea for fouling OKC’s Russell Westbrook, when it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Marc Davis calls a foul on Dallas’ Jason Terry for fouling OKC’s James Harden when it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Scott Foster will call a foul on OKC’s Nick Collison for fouling Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, when it didn’t look like there was much contact, if any.
  • Ref Bob Delaney didn’t call a foul on Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki when he shoved OKC’s Nick Collison, which is inconsistent with the technical foul that Westbrook received for a similar shove earlier in the game.

Heat-Bulls (Game 2): Plenty of calls to review from the 2nd half

May 19th, 2011 14 comments

There are plenty of calls to review from last night’s Miami-Chicago playoff game. There were so many, we just focused on select calls from the second half.

In the video above are the following clips:

  • Ref Monty McCutchen calls a phantom foul on Carlos Boozer involving LeBron James, when McCutchen had a worse angle on the play than the ref who was right next to the play and didn’t call anything!
  • Ref Monty McCutchen makes the correct out-of-bounds call off Derrick Rose while idiot fans viciously taunt him telling him he’s wrong.
  • Omar Asik does a nice sell/flop job to get a foul called against Mike Bibby
  • Omar Asik flops again to get a ticky-tack foul call from ref Monty McCutchen against Mike Miller
  • Ref Derrick Stafford incorrectly calls the ball off Dwyane Wade when it clearly went off Omar Asik
  • All three refs miss Taj Gibson holding on to the rim while the ball was in the cylinder. Should have been goaltending/basket interference
  • Ref Derrick Stafford correctly calls a travel on LeBron James, which is rare since many refs will miss this call

Thunder @ Mavericks (Game 1): select 2nd half ref calls, and the Joe Crawford Show continues

May 18th, 2011 18 comments

We always knew Joe (a.k.a. “Joey”) Crawford called a lot of ticky-tack fouls and allegedly loves to be part of the “show” (remember when he gave a technical to Tim Duncan for laughing FROM THE BENCH, and Crawford was suspended for having such thin skin?). Well, Crawford is up to his old tricks, calling fouls on every little thing, as seen in some of the clips in this video.

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

  • Ref Joe Crawford calls a phantom foul on Tyson Chandler involving Kevin Durant
  • Ref Joe Crawford calls a ticky-tack foul on Durant, who appeared to get “all ball” to deflect a pass into Dirk Nowitzki
  • Ref Bill Kennedy calls a ticky-tack foul on Kevin Durant trying to defend Nowitzki in the post
  • Ref Joe Crawford calls a phantom defensive 3-second foul on Kendrick Perkins way before the 3 seconds were up
  • Ref Joe Crawford calls a ticky-tack foul on Thabo Sefolosha trying to defend Nowitzki in the post
  • A missed travel of Kevin Durant that all the refs missed (from the 2nd quarter)

Thunder @ Mavericks (Game 1): Select calls from the 1st half, including whistle-happy Joe Crawford

May 18th, 2011 10 comments

There were so many questionable calls and no-calls from last night’s game between Oklahoma City and Dallas, we’ve decided to break up our analysis into two separate videos. A video from second half action will be coming out later today.

In this video, you’ll get a glimpse why referee Joe Crawford (#55) is considered so “whistle happy,” calling ticky-tack fouls on negligible contact.

Here’s a breakdown of the clips in the video above:

  • Ref Zach Zarba (#33) calls questionable double technical fouls on Tyson Chandler and Kendrick Perkins for fairly minor extracurricular activity.
  • Ref Joe Crawford arguably misses a travel on Dirk Nowitzki (which we describe in detail happens with other players on this blog post here and here).
  • Ref Zach Zarba misses a shooting foul from Dirk Nowitzki on Russell Westbrook.
  • Ref Bill Kennedy calls a terrible shooting foul on Jason Terry involving Kevin Durant.
  • Ref Bill Kennedy gets wrong an out-of-bounds call involving Jason Terry, but to Kennedy’s credit, he was shielded from the play, and he did check with another ref to see if he had a better angle on it, which he didn’t.
  • Ref Joe Crawford calls a ticky-tack foul on Jason Terry
  • Ref Joe Crawford calls a questionable foul (looks like he was wrong) on Tyson Chandler when another ref who had a better angle on the play didn’t call anything.

Heat-Bulls (Game 1): Some pretty bad calls against both teams, and some sad commentary from Steve Kerr

May 16th, 2011 25 comments

We’ve decided to focus on some of the calls from the Miami-Chicago game yesterday rather than Game 7 of Memphis-Oklahoma City that was played earlier in the day. That’s because OKC was never really threatened after they blew the game open in the 3rd quarter. Plus, it’s just not as interesting to point out ref calls for a series that’s over, unless there was a call that could have changed the outcome of the game, which there wasn’t.

In the video below you’ll see much more interesting calls for the Heat-Bulls series that could go a full seven games.

Here’s a breakdown of the clips in the video:

  • Ref Ken Mauer assigns a shooting foul on Keith Bogans for fouling LeBron James although it didn’t look like James was close to being in a shooting motion.
  • The entire ref crew gives Miami a break by not assigning a technical foul for having six players on the floor at one time.
  • Ref Dan Crawford assigns a ticky-tack foul on Kyle Korver when guarding LeBron James.
  • The refs failed to review if a shot by Carlos Boozer at the buzzer beat the shot clock (which it didn’t).
  • The refs failed to miss a travel by Derrick Rose, but even worse, TNT announcer Steve Kerr, while watching the slo-mo replay, fawns all over Rose’s ball handling abilities — hyping it up — without ever thinking Rose might have traveled. Just goes to show that even former NBA players get caught up in the hype without thinking of the rules.
  • Ref Ken Mauer misses Ronnie Brewer‘s foot on the baseline right before a dunk that gave the Bulls a 14-point lead with 8:59 remaining in the game.

Celtics-Heat (Game 5): A couple of tricky travel calls/no-calls you don’t see too often

May 12th, 2011 3 comments

Watching the Boston-Miami game Wednesday night, surprisingly it seemed to be well-officiated in the second half (unless you saw something egregious, which you can do here in the RefCalls.com/forums).

But there was one call and one no-call involving travels you don’t normally see. We typically don’t cover that many travels because there are so many of them that don’t get called, unless the travel had a big impact on determining the outcome of a game, or its just very unusual. Here’s a couple of them that fit more in the latter category.

Lakers-Mavericks (Game 3): Round-up of select calls and no-calls

May 7th, 2011 6 comments

Since the Atlanta-Chicago game was never really in question last night, we’re going to focus on the LA-Dallas game.

There were more travels called in the Laker-Mavericks game, more than usual, so you have to give the refs credit for calling it more.

However, there was one travel that wasn’t called that really exemplifies much of what we’ve written recently on how players can gain an unfair advantage by manipulating their dribble to sneak in an extra step and blow by their defender for a layup.

The refs miss it, as do most announcers. It happens so quickly at real speed, it’s very hard to detect. But the refs should get more training on detecting it. Like they say, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”

Celtics-Heat (Game 2): Tough calls hard to judge at real speed examined

May 4th, 2011 4 comments

Last night’s Boston-Miami game had more consequential calls and no-calls than Memphis-Oklahoma City, which wasn’t as close until the end, so we’ll focus on some of the calls from that game that were difficult to assess at real speed.

The play that Dwyane Wade had with his “crossover” in front of Kevin Garnett for a bucket looked spectacular and got everyone excited in the crowd and on the bench. It almost looked too good to be true at the time, making you ask, “How did he do that?”

Well, we slowed down the tape, and like several calls we’ve examined, it was a travel based on how the rules are written (check out this piece for a thorough analysis on why we think plays like this are traveling — scroll down to section 1 in bold font). It makes sense since he went all the way from the “elbow” of the lane, faked out Garnett, and got to the rim. Is that really possible to do in just two steps? Our analysis shows that it isn’t if you follow the letter of the rule book.

We’ve also included a couple of other calls that were pretty difficult to assess at real speed.