The referees in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday badly missed what should have been a foul called on Devin Booker late in the game.
Booker’s Phoenix Suns were leading 95-92 with 3:41 left when Milwaukee had the ball on a fastbreak. The pass went ahead to Jrue Holiday, who went up for a layup. Booker came in and made clear contact with Holiday while attempting to block the shot.
Rather than a foul being called, Booker was given credit for a block.
Giannis Antetokounmpo got the ball and made a layup as a followup, so the game’s score ended up what it should have been — 95-94. However, Booker had five fouls at the time of the play.
Had a foul been called as it should have been, Booker would have fouled out of the game. The refs shouldn’t miss calls like that. It will likely come up on the 2-minute report.
One LA Clippers player is tweeting what many were thinking after Saturday’s Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns narrowly held on to defeat the Clippers by a 84-80 final score. A crucial moment came with 7.8 seconds left in the contest when Clippers forward Nicolas Batum poked the ball away from Suns guard Cam Payne. Instant replay showed that the ball very clearly appeared to have been last touched by Payne before it went out of bounds. However, the referees chose to not even review the play despite the protests of the Clippers.
After the game, Clippers forward Patrick Patterson tweeted a vulgar message in which he tagged the NBA.
“Although it doesn’t mean s— & won’t change the outcome, we would like to apologize to the Clippers for not reviewing the deflection off of CP15 at the 8 second mark in the 4th.” – @NBA statement tomorrow..” Patterson wrote.
Had the referees gone to the replay booth and seen that the ball was last touched by Payne, the Clippers would have gotten the ball back down by one point with a chance to win the game. Instead, the Clippers had to foul, and the Suns hit two free throws to essentially ice the game.
The officials seem to have caved to public pressure here. Many criticisms had been levied in earlier games of the Clippers-Suns series about how the constant replay reviews were ruining the flow of the final two minutes. A similar sequence in Game 2 was also met with widespread fan disapproval. Patrick Beverley poked a ball away from Devin Booker in the closing seconds that was technically last touched by Booker. The referees reviewed the play and overturned the call on the floor to award possession to the Clippers. But many questioned the policy of rewarding the defensive player on such a play over a miniscule technicality.
The problem with now reversing that precedent in Game 4 is the lack of uniformity. Referees are supposed to call games fairly and consistently, not capriciously and arbitrarily. Fans on one side or the other will always be upset when a call goes against their team. Thus, getting the call right is what is most important. The refs in Game 2 took the time to get the calls right, and what will be remembered is how the Suns won on their own merits. Unfortunately, Game 4 will probably be remembered more for the poor officiating than anything else.
The Miami Heat were on the verge of sweeping the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and might have actually done so if not for a blown call by the officials.
The NBA’s last two-minute officiating report for Sunday’s Game 4 admitted that Heat star Jimmy Butler should have gotten two free throws towards the end of regulation, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Butler lost the ball out of bounds with 24.2 seconds remaining and the Heat leading 107-106. Instant replay showed that Bucks guard George Hill struck Butler on the shoulder. But NBA refs are not allowed to review non-calls. Thus, they had to go off the fact that Butler touched the ball last. Awarded possession, the Bucks would tie the game and eventually win in overtime.
Milwaukee does deserve credit for remaining competitive despite Giannis Antetokounmpo’s early exit with an ankle sprain. But the Heat obviously did not want to give the Bucks any hope of somehow getting back into the series.
Poor officiating also marred an earlier game in this series. Hopefully, Tuesday’s Game 5 will be free of any more such mistakes.
The referees in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat butchered the ending with a pair of foul calls.
The Heat won the game 116-114 after Jimmy Butler made two free throws with no time left to take a 2-0 series lead.
Miami was up 114-111 when Goran Dragic was called for a questionable foul on Khris Middleton with 4.3 seconds left. Dragic barely touched Middleton, but the foul call nevertheless resulted in three free throws for the Bucks forward.
Middleton made all three to tie the game.
Then Miami gave the ball to Butler for the final possession. He attempted a shot at the buzzer that missed, but the refs called a foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The foul sent Butler to the line with 0.0 seconds left. He made both his free throws to give his team a 116-114 win.
In both cases, barely any contact was made, and a foul probably should not have been called. The foul called on Antetokounmpo can be seen as a makeup call for the foul on Dragic that gave Milwaukee an opportunity to tie the game.
The Heat are up 2-0 in the series with Game 3 coming on Friday in Orlando, Fla.
The New Orleans Pelicans were screwed on a missed shot clock violation in their overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.
The game was tied at 93 in the final seconds and the Nets had the ball. Spencer Dinwiddie missed a shot that went off the backboard and did not hit the rim. A shot clock violation should have been called, giving the Pelicans a possession. Instead, nothing was called, and New Orleans scrambled to heave up a shot because the clock kept running.
The game went to overtime tied at 93, and Brooklyn went on to win 108-101.
So why couldn’t the Pelicans get a review? Officials ruled the ball hit the rim and that there wasn’t a shot clock violation.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was frustrated at the lack of a review.
New Orleans shot a dismal 34.3 percent on the game and has now slipped to 6-22 on the season. Blown calls like that are not helping their efforts.
The Golden State Warriors lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime on Friday night and may have themselves to blame for the circumstances.
The Warriors were down 130-127 to the Timberwolves in overtime and were taking the ball out with 5.8 seconds left. They passed in to Kevin Durant, who raised for a 3-pointer and made it while being contacted. Keita Bates-Diop was called for a foul, but the referees said it occurred prior to Durant’s shot rather than during it. The difference is the Warriors were forced to take the ball out again rather than being tied and having a chance to take the lead on a free throw.
Immediately after, Steph Curry made a three in the corner to tie the game and taunted the refs.
The refs obviously didn’t like that, because they seemingly got revenge by calling a petty foul on Durant on the ensuing possession.
Durant was called for fouling Karl-Anthony Towns with 0.5 seconds left on this play:
That put Towns on the line, where he went 1-for-2. That was enough for Minnesota to win 131-130.
At least Curry didn’t react by throwing his mouthpiece this time.
Erik Spoelstra called out the officiating after his Miami Heat lost a tight one against the Golden State Warriors 120-118 on Sunday night.
Spoelstra, who rarely talks about the referees, began talking about the free throw disparity and blown calls by the officials when meeting with the media.
One of the plays Spoelstra cited was this double dribble by Kevin Durant with the game tied at 118 and under 10 seconds left. Rather than the ball going to Miami as it should have, Durant missed his three and DeMarcus Cousins got the rebound and was fouled. Cousins made both free throws to give the Warriors their 2-point lead, solidifying the game.
Spoelstra was sure to clarify that the officials were not the reason they lost and said he did not want to be fined, but he still got his point across. Between the missed double dribble call and the 26-8 difference in free throws, he had every right to be upset.
The NBA admitted on Thursday that the referees missed a key goaltending call in the final seconds of Game 5 between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
The game was tied at 95 and Victor Oladipo drove to the basket for a layup attempt. His shot was rejected by LeBron James on a chase-down block, but there were questions about whether or not the ball hit the backboard first, which would have made it goaltending.
In its Last Two Minute Report about the game, the league said the call was missed and that James did goaltend. Because the goaltend was not called initially, the play could not be reviewed.
Not that it will matter much to Pacers fans, but the league also said that Indiana benefited from a missed call in the final minute. A ball that was ruled to be out of bounds on Cleveland was actually out on the Pacers and should have given the Cavs possession.
The game ended with James making a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win 98-95 and put the Cavs up 3-2 in the series. Oladipo was not happy with the call after the game. He needs to put that behind him in order to help his team come back to win the series.
The officials almost seemed like they were out to get the Indiana Pacers’ best player early in Game 2 on Wednesday.
Victor Oladipo was called for three fouls in the first half of his team’s playoff game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which led him to be limited to eight minutes. He was called for two early fouls, and then this was the third, which was called in the second quarter.
Kevin Love clearly jumped into Oladipo to get the foul call, while Oladipo was jumping towards Love’s side to avoid contact. Love still drew the foul call.
Oladipo was one of three Pacers players called for three fouls in the first half, while only one Cleveland player was called for three. The Pacers wouldn’t be the only team complaining about calls in the NBA playoffs, and they certainly would be justified.
The Washington Wizards lost their first game of the playoffs by eight points, and their stars seem to think a few blown calls may have swung the game.
Addressing reporters on Tuesday following their 114-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors over the weekend, Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal said that the refs missed calls during the game, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
“If I get calls or not, [I] just try to finish plays,” Wall was quoted as saying. “That is all I really can do. I think a couple of them [in Game 1] that I did get fouled on, they came to me at halftime and said they [an official] missed two or three of them. I rather you not tell me about it. Just like the Last Two-Minute Report, I rather you not tell me about [fouls that were missed].
“”I wasn’t looking for them at all,” he added. “I just felt like when I got to the basket at times, I felt like I got fouled … There is always something new when it comes to [officiating] me, and then I watch other games and those [other] guys get the same type of calls.”
Wall finished Game 1 with 22 points and 15 assists but shot just 6-for-20 from the field and 8-for-10 from the line. For what it’s worth, the Raptors only shot two more free throws for the game (20) than the Wizards did (18).
Backcourt partner Beal, who ended up with 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting and a lone free throw attempt (which he made), also hinted at some non-calls.
“They hold and grab a lot,” he said. “That is something that will be a different story tonight [in Game 2]. Just making sure that I am constantly moving, making them tired, especially when they put Kyle [Lowry] on me, just tire him out as much as possible.”
The Wizards are already an underdog as a No. 8 seed playing on the road against a No. 1 seed. Thus, putting scrutiny on the officiating may be worth a shot (as Wall and Beal very similarly did during last year’s playoffs as well).