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Final numbers (and video) of missed and wrong calls from Game 6 (Heat-Mavericks)

June 14th, 2011 8 comments

We have done another review of the missed and wrong ref calls from Game 6 and placed clips of them in the video below. We ended up revising our preliminary numbers slightly.

We calculated there were 6 wrong or missed calls in the game, an anomaly of a game since we’ve had many more in the other games of this NBA Finals series.

The Mavericks were the beneficiary of one of these wrong calls, resulting in +2 points for them, whereas Miami benefitted from 5 wrong or missed calls, resulting in +7 points. The numbers changed from our previous rough estimate since we moved some of them to our “missed travels” stat.

Again, our caveats still apply: these numbers are approximate to just give an idea on how much of an impact wrong or missed ref calls can have on a game. These estimates don’t take into account a myriad of factors that could increase the point differentials between the teams because of wrong or missed ref calls, like teams getting into the bonus quicker and getting more free throws because of it, players who get into foul trouble quicker and play less minutes as a result, etc.

Our new numbers for missed travels are now 11 (instead of 8): 4 for Dallas, 7 for Miami. On those 4 travels committed by Dallas players, 6 points were scored on those possessions. Miami scored 2 points on the possessions for their 7 travels.

As we stated in our preliminary results the day after the game, we believe the impact of LeBron James‘ hesitancy to drive to the basket (which increases the chances of traveling), good Dallas defense, or both, had a big impact on reducing the number of travels as we saw earlier in the series.

Another reason may be because as playoff games got more intense and the stakes became higher, like in an elimination game as this one was, the game slows down into a half-court game more often.

The refs for this game were Steve Javie, Derrick Stafford, and Scott Foster. It’s clear in the clips below that Foster made more questionable calls than the other refs in his crew.

Wrong calls that benefitted the Mavericks:

  1. The refs get wrong a 24-second violation where they should have stopped play, as the rulebook dictates, rather than have the players continue to play on, which caught Miami off guard. Dallas scored an easy basket as a result.

Wrong calls that benefitted the Heat:

  1. Ref Derrick Stafford calls a blocking foul on Dallas’ Ian Manhinmi when it doesn’t appear he made any contact with Miami’s Dwyane Wade
  2. Ref Scott Foster doesn’t call a foul on Miami’s Mario Chalmers when it’s clear he pushed off on Dallas’ Jose Barea.
  3. The refs won’t call a foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony when it appeared he made body contact with Dallas’ Tyson Chandler.
  4. Ref Scott Foster calls a foul on Dallas’ Jose Barea when it appeared Miami’s Mario Chalmers initiated contact by lowering his shoulder and pushing off with his arm.
  5. Ref Scott Foster calls a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when it appeared he didn’t make any contact with Miami’s Chris Bosh.

Now that the NBA season is over, we will occasionally post some information or new video we create that you might find interesting. You can just “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get alerted when we have posted new stuff for you to checkout.

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 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.

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

Heat-Mavericks Game 3 videos: wrong calls & no-calls (missed travels video later)

June 7th, 2011 18 comments

Below are the first two videos that feature the wrong and missed calls from Game 3 of the NBA Finals. These videos exclude the missed travels, which we are working on now, as well as a video of those calls we believe the refs got right that some people might have questioned.

Our new way of breaking up one large video into several smaller videos is taking longer than we anticipated, so thanks for your patience. We’ll continue to experiment on getting good content out on a timely basis.

In the first video, we have 4 clips of wrong or missed ref calls that benefitted Miami (in our last post we had stated 5, but have allocated one of those to Dallas since). These four calls resulted in 4 points being scored, approximately, by Miami during these possessions.

It wasn’t a good night for ref Scott Foster, who had 6 questionable foul calls, and Derrick Stafford, who had four. Usually you might get one ref who calls an inordinate amount of ticky-tack calls, but in this game, we had two (Foster and Stafford).

Below each video is a breakdown of all the clips in the video.

In the first video, we really appreciate the commentary that analyst Jeff Van Gundy provides in the last clip regarding players who flop on every play, and how he can’t understand how fellow commentators (Mark Jackson, Reggie Miller, just to name a few) think players SHOULD flop or sell calls. Bravo Van Gundy!

  1. The refs miss an offensive 3-second violation against Miami’s Chris Bosh.
  2. Ref Scott Foster will call a touch foul on Dallas’ Ian Mahinmi as Miami’s Udonis Haslem falls out out of bounds.
  3. The refs don’t call a foul on Miami’s Mario Chalmers when he arguably runs into Dallas’ Tyson Chandler.
  4. Ref Derrick Stafford will call a loose ball foul on Dallas’ Jason Kidd when it appeared Miami’s Dwyane Wade flopped.

In the second video (below) are 13 wrong or missed calls that benefitted Dallas (instead of 12, like we posted earlier today). Thirteen is a pretty wide disparity to the four that were missed to Miami’s advantage. However, it only resulted (roughly calculated) in 5 direct points that helped Dallas.

  1. Ref Scott Foster calls a foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony when it didn’t look like he made contact with Dallas’ Jason Terry.
  2. Ref Dan Crawford calls a questionable foul on Miami’s Mario Chalmers involving Dallas’ Jose Barea.
  3. Ref Derrick Stafford calls a foul on Miami’s LeBron James after Dallas’ DeShawn Stevenson flopped.
  4. Ref Dan Crawford calls a foul on Miami’s Mike Miller when it didn’t appear he hit Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  5. Ref Derrick Stafford calls a foul on Miami’s Mike Miller as he defends Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  6. Ref Dan Crawford doesn’t call a foul on Dallas’ Tyson Chandler when he puts his leg in Miami’s LeBron James‘ path, making him trip.
  7. Ref Derrick Stafford calls a foul on Miami’s Mike Bibby when there wasn’t much contact, if any, with Dallas’ Jose Barea.
  8. Ref Scott Foster calls a foul on Miami’s Mike Bibby when Dallas’ Jose Barea slips and falls.
  9. Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball foul on Miami’s Udonis Haslem when it didn’t look like he made any contact.
  10. Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball foul on Miami’s Udonis Haslem when it didn’t look like he made much, if any, contact with Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.
  11. The refs miss a foul from Dallas’ Jason Kidd on Miami’s LeBron James when Kidd lightly hits James’ arm, making him lose control of the ball while everyone thought James lost the ball on his own and traveled.
  12. Ref Scott Foster calls a loose ball foul on Miami’s Udonis Haslem (again) when it didn’t look like he made much, if any, contact with Dallas’ Tyson Chandler.
  13. Ref Derrick Stafford makes a no-call when Dallas’ Shawn Marion appears to foul Miami’s LeBron James.

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.