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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 5): Two big ref calls/no-calls near the end of game

June 10th, 2011 47 comments

We’ll be working on videos of missed calls from Thursday’s Game 5 and publishing them on Saturday and Sunday. But before doing that, we wanted to feature two plays near the end of the game that had an impact on the outcome.

They both occurred with over 2 minutes remaining, so there was still plenty of time for the outcome of the game to be affected by subsequent plays, but they were big plays nonetheless.

The first is of Dirk Nowitzki driving along the baseline where the refs (specifically Bill Kennedy) missed Nowitzki traveling on his way to a dunk that put the Mavericks up 102-100.

Then on the very next possession, it was a tough call for ref Joe Crawford to make at real speed when LeBron James caught the ball as he was driving to the hoop, and was called for a charging violation on Tyson Chandler.

Chandler was established when James charged into him, and Chandler was in the restricted area (or on the line, which is the same thing). The key question is where was James when he “received” the ball? It’s pretty clear he received it in the lower defensive box area, so this was a good call.

The lower defensive box (LDB) is the area between the tip of the free throw circle, down to the end line, and out across the lane a couple of feet to some small hash marks along the end line that are hardly visible, but they are there.

The reason why the LDB is relevant on block-charge situations like this is because the rule makers understood that it would be impossible for a defender to get out of the restricted area quick enough if an opponent on offense received the ball real close to the basket. It would give the offense an unfair advantage. So that’s why they came up with a reasonable amount of space and grant the defender a “waiver” to legally be in the restricted area.

Check out the video below for these two plays.

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.

Bulls-Heat (Game 4): Select ref calls & no-calls, sans all the missed travels (coming later)

May 25th, 2011 9 comments

Below are select ref calls and no-calls from last night’s game between Chicago and Miami. We’ve also included a couple of calls that were really tough that the refs correctly made, to their credit.

We are planning on releasing a video before Game 5 (hopefully) of all the more obvious travels (20+) that have been missed by the refs in Games 3 & 4 of this series. When you have players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose playing in the same game, it adds a significant amount of time to create these videos if you want to cover all of the travels fairly (and show how bad the league and refs are in enforcing them).

So we’ve decided to try to tackle that feat through a separate project coming up soon. However, the final clip in THIS video DOES include one of the most important missed travels of the game — the shot made by LeBron James that put the game away for Miami.

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

  • Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Joel Anthony when it didn’t look like he made contact with Chicago’s Derrick Rose.
  • Ref Ed Malloy will incorrectly call a charging foul on Chicago’s Luol Deng while Miami’s Chris Bosh was still moving laterally.
  • Ref Bennett Salvatore will incorrectly rule the ball went off Miami’s Chris Bosh‘s hand before going out of bounds when it really went off Chicago’s Taj Gibson‘s hand.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will correctly call an offensive foul against Chicago’s Luol Deng for leaning into Miami’s LeBron James.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will miss an obvious violation of Kyle Korver fouling an opponent when chasing after a loose ball, but fortunately ref Bennett Salvatore covered for Crawford’s omission and called the violation, probably thinking Crawford was going to call it, but when he didn’t, Salvatore had to blow his whistle late. Better late than never, though.
  • Two refs will call a shooting foul on Miami’s Dwayne Wade when it appears he didn’t make contact with Chicago’s Luol Deng wrist or arm.
  • Ref Ed Malloy made the correct call when Chicago’s Joakim Noah charged into Miami’s Udonis Haslem, and having to do it while ref Joe Crawford was calling an incorrect blocking foul on Haslem, which fortunately Malloy overruled.
  • Ref Bennett Salvatore will correctly call a foul on Miami’s LeBron James for charging into Chicago’s Ronnie Brewer.
  • Ref Joe Crawford will call a foul on Miami’s Dwyane Wade when it appeared he did nothing wrong with Chicago’s Luol Deng when Deng lost control of the ball on his own.
  • The refs will miss an obvious traveling call by Miami’s LeBron James as he hits a jumper that puts the game away and secures a victory.

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.

Bulls-Hawks (Game 6): Bad game overall, but at least a few calls to feature

May 13th, 2011 2 comments

If you watched the Chicago-Atlanta game last night, which eliminated the Hawks from the playoffs, it wasn’t that great of a game to watch since Chicago seemed to have it in the bag most of the game. We had a hard time finding any calls worth mentioning, but found a couple, which include:

– A walk by Joakim Noah that happens right in front of the refs in near slow-motion, and no ref catches it
– A block by Zaza Pachulia on Derrick Rose that the ref Bob Delaney (#26) easily missed
– A flop from Keith Bogans that was so over-the-top, the ref must have blown off the contact because of such bad acting
– A hilarious flop from Omar Asik after a slight push from Pachulia

Tuesday’s featured calls: Knicks-Celtics (Game 2) – couple of 4Q no-calls help Boston

April 20th, 2011 4 comments

All three of the playoff games Tuesday night had their fair share of bad calls and no-calls. But as we’re sure you can understand, we can’t try to tackle all of the bad calls and good calls in a game. There are just too many.

What we do try to focus on are those close games where there were some pivotal calls in the 4th quarter that could have changed the outcome of the game.

It’s not ideal, but we think over time as we evaluate more cases like these, we’ll have so many of them that it will might bring more attention to the breadth of the problem, and fans will become more educated about them. Then perhaps the powers-that-be will do something to address them.

Among Tuesday’s games, the best game to select was the Knicks-Celtics game because it went down to the wire, whereas the other games were not as close where one bad call would have made a difference in changing the outcome of the game.

After reviewing the Knicks-Celtics’ 4th quarter in detail, there were two calls/no-calls that we thought were wrong that helped Boston. There was one no-call for New York that helped them.

At the 11:07 mark, Glen Davis barreled into Jared Jeffries out-of-bounds, which should have been a technical on Big Baby. Referee Bennett Salvatore (#15) was the closest ref who missed the call, although it was so clear what happened, the other refs (Joe Crawford (#17) and Michael Smith (#38)) could have blown the whistle as well.

How Jeffries restrained himself from retaliating was impressive…or maybe wimpy? You can check it out in the video player below the 6:30 entry.

After that, there were two travels by the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony that weren’t called. He scored on one of them at the 10-minute mark. We won’t even provide a video for it because as we’ve explained in our special report at Refcalls.com/missed-travels, there can be up to 40-50 missed travels per game, and Anthony is a notorious offender who is rarely caught (like most players). However, if a team wins late in a game because of a missed travel, we’ll feature it.

8:48 – There was a questionable blocking foul on Delonte West while guarding Carmelo Anthony. It looked like that Melo might have pushed off, but West got the foul. But since New York lost, it didn’t change the outcome of the game.

6:30 – Rajon Rondo lifts his pivot foot before releasing the ball (and thus travels), spins around his defender, scores, and there’s no call from ref Joe Crawford (#17), the closest ref to the play. Because Boston won this game and it was such a big score as the Celtics were making a comeback to give them an 82-81 lead, we have also featured it in the video below.

2:40 – Paul Pierce bumped Anthony with his body, but there was no call. Fortunately for Anthony, a second later after bouncing off Pierce, he put up a 3-point shot and hit it to give NY a 91-88 lead.

From that point, Boston made plays down the stretch, and New York didn’t. Thankfully after Rondo’s travel and bucket at the 6:30 mark, there was really no other call that had a huge bearing on changing the outcome of the game, which is good since we’ve all seen much worse. But Rondo’s missed travel that helped Boston get the lead has to make Knick fans feel a little sick on Wednesday morning.

Bulls vs. Pacers (Game 1): Rose carries the ball on way to big bucket, but no call

April 16th, 2011 6 comments

Late in the fourth quarter of the Indiana-Chicago game, the Pacers blew a big lead — 10 points with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. It was mainly due to the Pacers collapsing, but there was one no-call that played a factor in the comeback that, of course, the announcers didn’t talk about.

The Bulls were down 99-94 during their comeback with about two minutes remaining, and as we see way too much in the NBA, penetrating guards like Derrick Rose don’t get called for carrying the ball. This gives them a huge advantage as they take a big first step to get by their defender. Once a player like Rose gets past his initial defender, they’re almost unstoppable.

The NBA rulebook states:

A player who is dribbling may not put any part of his hand under the ball and (1) carry it from one point to another or (2) bring it to a pause and then continue to dribble again.

We believe Rose did both. You be the judge on this one as he brings the Bulls within 3 points during their comeback (and went on to win).

Missed travels are such a big part of the game, we did an entire video on the topic analyzing it. You can check it out here at Refcalls.com/missed-travels. It happens so much, there’s no way we would be able to keep up with analyzing each time it happens, but if it happens in a crucial late-game situation like this one and impacts the outcome of the game, we’ll bring it up.

The refs who failed to call the carrying violation on Rose were Joe Crawford (#17) and Violet Palmer (#12). But keep in mind the culture among NBA refs is to NOT call these violations, for a variety of reasons as discussed in the “missed travels” video above.