Posts Tagged ‘NBA ref Bill Spooner (#22)’

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.

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

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.

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

April 28th, 2011 2 comments

When we launched 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.

2-of-4 playoff games free of bad, impactful calls Saturday. Funny moment in one of them, though

April 17th, 2011 2 comments

Two of the four playoff games today didn’t really have any controversial calls that affected the outcome of the game, so there’s really nothing to report there. Those games were Atlanta at Orlando, and Portland at Dallas.

Unfortunately, Indiana at Chicago and Philadelphia at Miami had a couple of controversial calls (or no-calls) at the end of their games, which you can read about here and here, respectively.

Speaking of the 76er-Heat game…on the lighter side, here’s something you probably have never seen: a ref showing compassion to an NBA player.

Thaddeus Young was working his butt off in the 76er-Heat game, huffing-and-puffing running around the court. It looks like in the video below he was telling referee Bill Spooner (#22) that he was exhausted, and the ref looks like he tried to show some sympathy toward Young by giving him a pat on the back — literally!

We don’t have a problem with a ref showing a human side. Players do that often with refs, and it happens occasionally the other way around. This is a unique display of it, though. Again, not a problem to us and we’re not making fun of it. But we do chuckle at what Spooner does with his hands after touching his back. I guess he was surprised how sweaty Thaddeus was!

Hopefully Spooner will catch a break from the press on this, especially since he’s the same ref suing a sportswriter for defamation. Don’t mess with Spooner!