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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thunder-Grizzlies (Game 6): Too many ticky-tack calls makes game almost unwatchable

May 14th, 2011 6 comments

Last night’s Oklahoma City-Memphis game was painful to watch from an officiating perspective, with lots of ticky-tack fouls called against both teams. Even the announcers mentioned how the game had no flow because of it.

If you’re a Grizzlies fan, fortunately you can say your team won without the benefit of bad ref calls against Oklahoma City. We documented most of the bad calls in the video below (with a breakdown in text below the video), and the bad calls seemed to go both ways, with ref Marc Davis being the worst ref of the bunch.

Here’s a breakdown of the calls/no-calls in the video, including some tough good calls where you have to give the refs credit.

  • An unnecessary charging call by ref Scott Foster (#48) on Kevin Durant
  • A good charging call from ref Scott Foster against Marc Gasol
  • A flop by Thabo Sefolosha. Good no-call by Scott Foster
  • A bad call from ref Marc Davis (#8) against James Harden that should have been let go
  • A good no-call from ref Ron Garretson (#10) when many refs would have called a charge or block
  • A bad charging call from Ron Garretson on Tony Allen. Should have been a block on James Harden
  • A ticky-tack foul from ref Marc Davis on Nick Collison involving a flop by Zach Randolph
  • A ticky-tack foul from ref Marc Davis on Shane Battier involving Russell Westbrook
  • A ticky-tack foul from ref Marc Davis on Kendrick Perkins involving Zach Randolph
  • A ticky-tack foul from ref Scott Foster on O.J. Mayo involving Russell Westbrook
  • A bad shooting foul from ref Scott Foster on Tony Allen involving Kevin Durant
  • A good call from ref Marc Davis on Darrell Arthur for charging into Nick Collison
  • A good call from ref Scott Foster on Zach Randolph for fouling Kendrick Perkins

Nuggets-Thunder (Game 5): Reversal of a huge call shows how ref teamwork should work

April 28th, 2011 2 comments

When we launched RefCalls.com about 12 days ago, we stated that we weren’t going to be a place where we just threw the refs under the ball the time, but also give refs credit when we believe they get a very difficult call right in a crucial situation.

We’ve since done that on several occasions to try to keep things fair. We acknowledge how tough it is to ref an NBA game, and feel it’s important to do it again after the refs made the correct call in a very tough situation working the Denver-Oklahoma City game last night.

OKC was only leading by one point, 98-97, with 14.8 seconds remaining in the game. They called a backcourt violation against Kevin Durant, but then reversed it. Durant followed that call up by hitting a big jumper to give OKC a 3-point lead, which was huge to help them win the game and the series.

Here’s how it all went down. TNT analyst Mike Fratello does an accurate job explaining the situation and the rules…

Durant was very lucky that he received the ball and stopped with his left foot touching the line. If he hadn’t, then had his next step with his left foot touched the half court line for the first time, then it would have been a backcourt violation.

Oklahoma City also lucked out they had a ref (Bill Spooner (#23)) who was willing to reverse his own call, most likely after a fellow crew member (looks like Scott Foster (#48)) probably asked him if perhaps Durant caught the ball at the same time that his left foot landed on the half court line, or his first step after securing the ball was also on the half court line. As we have seen several times in these playoffs (and the regular season), most times when a ref makes a call, his fellow crew members don’t question him.

Amazingly, though, just like goaltending, backcourt violations are not reviewable through instant replay. We think both call types need to be reviewable because there are many occasions when it’s impossible to see and determine what happened in situations that unfold so quickly.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good night for TNT’s Charles Barkley after the game. First, he was vociferous in saying the baseline ref on this play “overruled” the ref who originally signaled the backcourt violation (Spooner), and how could he do that all the way from across the court? That wasn’t the case, though. Spooner was the one who made the signal to correct his original call and make it OKC’s ball.

Second, Barkley said the refs looked at the monitor to make the call. As stated above, backcourt violations are not reviewable according to our poring over the rulebook (the section on what’s reviewable is surprisingly very long). As one ref told us before, it’s written like lawyers wrote it to make sure that it is as specific as possible.