Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cavs/Magic Game 6 (4rd Quarter/Post Game Wrap-UP)

Normally I would post the time stamp of calls like I do for every quarter, but I found it next to impossible to figure out anymore what the officials even considered a foul tonight. If you look through the Official NBA Rule Book, you see the word “minimal” used constantly to describe the amount of contact that requires a foul being called. Being a NBA official may be one of the toughest jobs to do properly because of how subjective a foul is. That is why it’s imperative for officials to make it clear to the players what the standard for contact down low will be for the game. Today, the referees kept flip flopping back and forth, which while not being the main reason Cleveland lost tonight, it certainly seemed to affect Lebron’s approach to the game. While others were getting fouls after very little contact, for whatever reason Lebron was not getting the same treatment. He would get hammered one play and receive no foul and then get a foul after being barely touched.

If you were to compare last nights DEN/LA game with tonight’s CLE/ORL game, you would probably infer that the officials did a good job in both games because foul totals and free throws were kept to a minimum. The problem is that low foul totals and free throws are only one part of what makes a officiated game considered “good”. The other part is making sure that you call a consistent game. That happened last night in DEN/LA, but not tonight in CLE/ORL. The refs in DEN/LA made it clear early what was going to be a foul tonight and what wasn’t. I was able to spot miscalls easily because I was able to look back at previous calls and see what precedent was set in the 1st quarter. I had no such luck in CLE/ORL tonight, it was brutal trying to figure out what the precedent was because none was set. It makes it aggravating for not only the players, but also for the fans.

That’s what won’t show up in the stat sheet and what inspired me to start this website. I know that right now there are probably very few people reading this, but you have to start from somewhere. All I ask of you, the reader, are two things. That if you like the site to please tell your friends/colleagues/enemies (if you find my posts torture) and if you don’t like it, to leave a comment suggesting improvements to make this site better.

If we have any hope of getting the league’s attention about the state of officiating we need to work together and spread the word. Only immense public pressure from fans (Die-hard and casual) will cause the league to change their ways, hopefully this site can do just that.

Cavs/Magic Game 6 (3rd Quarter)

After the end of the 3rd, the big problem I have with the officials so far is not the amount of fouls they have called (only 28 in 3 quarters), but their consistency in letting the players know how much contact will warrant a foul down low. You can the same amount of contact be called a foul on one play and not another, and it's messing with James as he is getting the same amount of contact every time he drives, yet comes out with a foul half the time, which must be frustrating as he is getting mixed messages from the refs. Consistency is key.

Here are my time stamps

3rd Quarter
10:39 Hard to tell from the camera angle, but it looked like Turkoglu barely touched Lebron on the called reach in (Perhaps we are seeing the start of the refs giving James calls after Mike Brown complained)
8:21 Alston barely touches Williams on the called shooting foul (The refs need to make up their minds, Lebron has been getting the same contact all night, but not getting any calls)
3:52 Horrible blocking call on Howard as he defended James (That was a make-up call for the hits he took early in the night)
1:26 West gets contact with Howard, no call (Refs are calling a very inconsistent game)

Cavs/Magic Game 6 (2nd Quarter)

Wow, this is two games in a row now that we games being called loosely and more important, somewhat consistently. As you will see in my time stamps of questionable/no calls, I am pretty much nitpicking. I didn't like the Gortat defensive 3 seconds call or Williams call, but the other 9 calls seemed perfectly ok to me.

My only complaint is that I felt like the officials loosened up in the 2nd quarter and that led to some players (specifically James) to go to the hole and get contact that they thought would get them a foul from what they saw in the 1st quarter, but come up with nothing. As long as the officials stick with their 2nd quarter definition of contact for the rest of the game there should be no complaints from fans.

The NBA: Where Reading Bill Simmons Happens?

Here is my 2nd quarter time stamp sheet.

2nd Quarter
10:38 Mo Williams called for a foul for riding Pietrus hard (There was very little contact)
7:17 Gortat called for defensive 3 seconds (He was heading towards a offensive player in a active defender role on his 3rd second which is allowed if it is imminent that he will become a active defender)
6:34 James drives and gets into contact with Howard that has been designated early by the officials as worthy of a foul, yet gets nothing (Consistency?)
1:46 Lewis knocks the ball out of James hand and it goes out of bounds, but the officials say Lebron touched it last (Replay shows that Lewis was the last to touch it)

Cavs/Magic Game 6 (1st Quarter)

And we are underway with a must win game for the Cavs in order to keep this series going. After one quarter of play it looks like the refs are calling this game tight (excessively in my opinion) even though the contact in this game appears to be similar to Den/LA game 6 last night (Which I thought was called fine). With that said there were only 7 fouls called (5 for the Cavs and 2 for the Magic) Consistency will be key here. I noticed a couple of contact plays that appeared to be fouls by the ref's standards tonight, yet no call being made.

Here are my time stamps

1st quarter

10:05 Howard barely touches Wallace as he drove for a layup (looks like they are calling this game tight)
9:50 Wallace had as much contact on Lewis as Howard did on Wallace (No call, Consistency?)
7:03 Ilgauskas called for a shooting foul against Lewis (After viewing it multiple times appears that Lewis went around Ilgauskas arms, if the foul is on anybody it should have be Wallace, who had some contact with Lewis’s right arm. Even then a foul there is pushing it)
6:40 Turkoglu called for a shooting foul against James (Arm hit James lightly over the head, let them play)
1:23 Gibson called for a foul against Howard (He barely touched Howard as he went up)
56:6 Wally clearly goes across the court to push Howard no call (It wasn’t a lot of contact but it was entirely pointless)
11.0 Howard drives and gets contact that has been called a foul in this game already, but receives nothing (Consistency?)

Friday, May 29, 2009

DEN/LA GAME 6 (4th Quarter/End of Game Wrap-Up)

Denver exits the playoffs with a whimper as the Lakers finish the job in the 4th, winning 119 to 92.
There were only 9 fouls called (3 on LA and 6 on Den) and while the refs managed to change course back to their 1st/2nd quarter form, that probably had more to do with the Lakers expanding their lead early in the 4th to the high teens than the refs realizing they had tightened up after the T in the 3rd.

Some bad calls I noticed were Gasol hacking Nene's arm while he was shooting (A no call), The flagrant 1 on Billups (He did hit Gasol on the head, but a flagrant 1 is defined as being "unnecesary" and in my opinion Billups was trying to block Gasol's shot and fell short because Gasol is 7 feet tall while Billups is only 6 foot 3) Also the foul on Carmelo when Odom backed up so fast that he fell down by himself was a bad call.

It will be interesting to see if through out the rest of these playoffs, referees increase their foul calls immediately after a T or flagrant foul is issued, due to fear of losing control of the game.

In terms of statistics, the teams had a combined 148 2's, 35 3's, 49 FT's, and 40 personal fouls. All in all a pretty good job by tonight's referees(Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan, and Mark Wunderlich) in keeping the game moving and being somewhat consistent throughout the contest.

Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for Cavs/Magic game 6.

Here is my (brief) 4th quarter foul time stamps

4th quarter
9:18 Gasol hacks Nene’s arm as he shoots, no call.
5:38 Flagrant foul 1 on Billups (He did hit him on the head, but flagrant rules say....
4:53 Foul on Carmelo (Odom kept backing up on him and fell when Carmelo backed up faster)

DEN/LA GAME 6 (3rd Quarter)

Well the good times needed to partially come to an end I suppose. After only 16 fouls in the 1st half, the guys in stripes called 15 fouls in the 3rd quarter (6 on LA and 9 on Den). It started go downhill at 11:03 in the quarter when Jones got T'd up for excessive celebration (waving his arms) after Bryant air balled a three. From there on out the refs tensed up and started calling fouls on contact that was not foul worthy a quarter ago.

The time stamps for fouls are located below (Notice the increase in bad shooting foul calls after the T)

3rd Quarter
11:03 Refs call a T after Jones celebrates Kobe air balling a three (This may be our turning point into horrible refereeing) Jones was illegally screened by Bynum on the play. The NBA: Where Emotion Doesn’t Happen!
9:54 Ariza fighting for position on the block called for a foul (This is playoff basketball, you do not call that)
9:12 Fisher called for a shooting foul against Billups (He jumped straight up, barely touched Billups)
8:40 Slightly questionable reach in by Jones (He was riding his defender hard)
5:03 Very bad call against Billups who was guarding Bryant. He tripped on Nene’s feet and the refs interpreted that as contact on Bryant while he was shooting (Billups barely touched him
4:10 Another bad call against Anderson for a moving screen (Fisher, who was the target of the screen, never touched him)

DEN/LA GAME 6 (2nd Quarter)

Going into halftime, I have to say that for the most part the refs tonight are doing a good job of being consistent and not calling to many fouls. There were 10 fouls this quarter (4 more than the 1st) With 7 against LA and 3 against Den.

Some bad calls that I noticed were the defensive 3 in the key called against LA (Look at the play in slow-mo multiple times, could not find the offender) and the horrific call on Martin (He didn't even touch Bryant on his shot).

The officials did do a good job on calling Gasol for traveling (He landed on his right foot a split-second before his left foot came down, then proceded to use his left foot as a pivot foot) and Nene for a illegal screen (He was still moving and did not give enough space for Walton to be able to make a turn; which are stated in rules for when a offensive player sets a screen to the side of a defensive player who is moving.

As always, my time stamps of calls I found questionable/interesting.

2nd quarter

10:15 defensive 3 in the key against a unidentified laker (After looking at the play about five times it appeared every player became a active defender before the 3 seconds in the key limit was reached)
3:44 Great traveling call on Gasol
3:09 Martin gets called for a shooting foul against Bryant (Horrific call, if there was a foul on anyone it was Nene, and even then it’s inconsistent with the bumping they have been allowing since the 1st quarter.
2:58 Fisher called for a reach after Billups lost the ball and quickly regained control (both guys were going for it and Fisher barely touched Billups in the process)