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Blazer coach fined $35k for comments about refs. Was he justified? We break it down

April 19th, 2011 7 comments

Portland coach Nate McMillan had some critical things to say about the referees after the Blazers’ loss to Dallas on Saturday, which earned him a $35,000 fine from the league on Monday. Here’s what McMillan said after Saturday’s game…

The (Dallas) free throws, I just don’t get that. It’s hard for our guys to know how to play out there when it’s called a little different—19-2 in the fourth quarter. And I felt like we were attacking, and guys really didn’t know how to play with the fouls that were being called. A lot of touch fouls. I thought that took the momentum and pretty much gave them control of the game in the fourth quarter.

We have decided to break down the foul situation further to see just how much of a discrepancy there was in McMillan’s claim there were “a lot of touch fouls” with what actually happened.

Unfortunately, ESPN (which we have to watch since we don’t think NBA League Pass channels are carrying the playoff games) did a terrible job showing replays of alleged “touch” fouls so that we could get a closer look. ESPN was too busy promoting upcoming games during the ensuing free throws after alleged fouls, which is a shame for sports fans. [Ironically, you see more replays of fouls on regional sports networks, I guess because they don’t have as much to promote]. I digress.

Here’s what we determined happened in the fourth quarter.

4th quarter breakdown

We counted 6 fouls the Blazers committed on Dirk Nowitzki in the fourth quarter. Because ESPN didn’t show close-up, floor-angle replays of 4 of these fouls, we have to go off what the primary camera angle showed.

It looked like 3 fouls were somewhat “touch” or “ticky-tack” fouls. Another foul, charged towards Andre Miller, looked like a ticky-tack foul, but the floor-angle replay shows that Miller was foolish to try to reach around Dirk’s body for a steal.

By the way, Miller had no chance of stealing the ball, and you’d expect a veteran like Miller to not stick his hand or arm close to an opponent’s body like that when he has no chance of getting it while Nowitzki is spinning away from him. Instead, the chances of getting a foul called goes way up, even if the defender doesn’t make contact.

The remaining two fouls the Blazers had on Dirk, both shooting fouls, looked like legit foul calls by the refs.
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