Archive for the ‘Referees’ Category

With 2:30 left in the fourth quarter, LeBron James cut baseline, took a jump pass from Dwyane Wade, rose up and hit an almost impossible layup while smashing in to Tyson Chandler, tying the game and ending a little 5-0 Mavericks run. It was a huge play that turned around the end of the game.

Except it didn’t count because LeBron James was whistled for an offensive foul, negating the basket and giving the ball back to the Mavericks. Still a huge play, just didn’t turn things in Miami’s favor. And it all started with Tyson Chandler doing his homework. From the Dallas Morning News:

“I felt like it was a charge,” Chandler said. “I’ve seen that baseline move before, and for a couple of games now I’ve been thinking that if I can just get there and get set and make him think I’m going to jump, that I could get a charge. It just happened to be at a key time.”

Couldn’t have been at a more key time, really. With that one play, Chandler took away the Miami lead, kept Dallas’ crazy crowd on their feet and deflated the Heat, as they would go on to score just three points from that point on. It was one of those bang-bang plays that means everything in basketball.

And luckily for the Mavericks, it was a perfect charge call. Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook explains:

[This] is where the rulebook comes into play. You know those hash marks along the baseline that look a bit out of place? That is actually a very important line of reference for the refs called the Lower Defensive Box (here is it explained by

“The restricted area (RA) is the area within the arched line on the court located below the rim. Its purpose is to stop secondary defenders from taking a position under the basket in an attempt to draw the offensive foul when a player is driving to the basket. If an offensive player drives past his primary defender on the way to the basket and a secondary defender comes over, he must establish a legal position outside the RA to draw an offensive foul. If the drive starts inside the Lower Defensive Box (LDB – this is the area from the bottom tip of the free throw circle to the endline between the two 3’ posted-up marks), the secondary defender is legally allowed to be positioned inside the LDB.”

According to the rulebook, if a player starts his drive (or makes the catch) inside the lower defensive box, the restricted area is negated and a player can take a charge inside of it.  As you can obviously see, James doesn’t establish possession until he is inside of this line.  So at this point, Tyson Chandler doesn’t need to get his feet outside of the restricted area, he simply needs to be set.

Chandler gets set as James lowers his shoulder and bulls through him. Crawford blows the whistle and calls the offensive foul, correctly.

Incredible little piece of officiating there by Joey Crawford, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d type. That’s a tough, tough call to make in such a huge situation on one of the game’s biggest superstars and he absolutely nails it. Refs get a lot of stick for messing things up, and rightly so, but we need to give them some props when they make calls like these. This was a game-changing play for whoever got the whistle, so it’s great that it went the right way. (Also big ups to Jeff Van Gundy for correctly explaining the call on the spot, another thing I never thought I’d type.)

Sometimes we take for granted all the tiny things that have an effect on an NBA game. But when you see a correctly called play like this that was the result of a player being prepared for this very situation, you realize just how complex this game really is. Basketball is awesome, and this is just another reason why.

With the inevitable lockout quickly approaching, NBA employees are going to need to find jobs to tide them over until Billy Hunter and David Stern work things out. And though we’ve already heard what a bunch of players are going to do, what about the coaches? They’ll need jobs too since volunteering in the local youth leagues doesn’t pay squat. That’ll be tough, because these guys have done nothing but basketball for the past 30 years and it’s hard to switch professions when you get older.

Except Scott Skiles. He’s kind of got something lined up at Service Merchandise because he knows everything there is to know about the newest technologies. From the AP:

Skiles pointed to the large high-definition video board hanging over midcourt in the first quarter, trying to plead his case that referees had botched a foul call. “HD nowadays. That’s not a foul,” Skiles said, to no avail.

Just a classic sales technique, right there. Point out something on a crystal clear HD screen that you wouldn’t be able to see if you were watching on a cheap standard definition setup, then watch the sales come pouring in. Sure, it might not have worked on the referees, but they’re notoriously cheap customers anyway.

All he has to do to move some televisions is trust the process and refuse to take “No” for an answer. Maybe don’t scream at the shoppers at the top of his lungs either, but we can work on that.

Ken Mauer came here to chew bubblegum and give technical fouls. And he’s all out of bubblegum.

So don’t even think about mouthing off to the fiery Minnesotan — yes, those exist — because he’ll T you up, right quick. And definitely don’t act on your silly contemplation. Because if you do say something, that’s a one-way ticket to Showersburgh, courtesy of Whistles McMauer. Kurt Rambis found that out the hard way.

There’s a new sheriff in town and his name’s Ken Mauer. Shape up, punks.

The new NBA technical rules still have quite a few people hot and bothered. Chris Bosh and LeBron James aren’t fans. Stephen Jackson is kind of confused by them but is trying to be better. J.R. Smith is just trying to understand, man. A big chunk of the players in the league know the rules and they know why they’re being enforced more stringently this season, but that doesn’t mean they like them.

However, there’s at least one guy in the NBA who’s crazy about these new quick Ts — Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon. He’s head-over-heels in love with the new guidelines because he thinks they’re going to give him an upper hand. From the Chicago Tribune:

“I’m all for it, and I think it will make the game go a lot smoother,” Gordon said when he was asked about the new guidelines last week. “There are times when guys are complaining a bit excessively. It kind of slows the game down. It messes with the flow of the game.”

Gordon even said it might help him.

“I won’t struggle with it, but I’m hoping some guys who are used to arguing with refs and trying to beg for calls and stuff, hopefully it will affect their game a little bit more,” Gordon added. “It will give me an extra edge.”

Gordon didn’t get a single technical last year, so of course he’s going to be an advocate for the new rules. Not to mention, he’s pseudo-British, which means he’s got that famed stiff upper lip. He wouldn’t be complaining even if he were allowed to. And he’s probably right about the guys that are used to arguing with the refs. Some of them are so fueled by emotion, that if they have to suppress it their games might be affected.

As they say, in the land of the angry, the calm man is king. And also, apparently, Ben Gordon.

I’m with you, Tommy Heinsohn. That ejection is stupid.

Because the cameraman was focusing on the free throws, it’s hard to tell exactly what went down during last night’s Knicks/Celtics technical fest, but if you’ll have a looksy at this breakdown from Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski you’ll surely join forces with the rest of the It’s So Stupid Squad.

Just beyond the shadows of the NBA’s Olympic Tower Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, Boston’s Jermaine O’Neal drew his second technical in two nights for moderately reacting to a referee’s foul call. Kevin Garnett was given a technical moments later for trying to show an official how a New York Knicks player had hit him, and was then ejected for laughing over the legitimacy of that tech.

Finally, the Knicks’ Timofey Mozgov muttered to himself in Russian, and these lost, young referees carrying out orders teed him up, too.

Just to clarify, here are a few things that will definitely get you a technical foul in the new NBA:

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Being an NBA head coach must be stressful. Not only do they have to manage the players, rotations, plays and assistant coaches, they also have to interact with referees, keep upper management happy and — above all — win games so that fans don’t hate them. It’s quite a big job for one guy. Lots and lots of stress, and it goes double for first time head coaches. There’s no way they can know what they’re getting themselves in to.

One such case study is the Chicago Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, whose name I can spell right without looking it up. This is his first season as an NBA head man, and he’s jumping in to it with both feet, Amar’e Stoudemire-style. From the Chicago Tribune:

Preseason or not, the intensity of new Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on the sidelines was apparent from the start of the game against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

Referee Monty McCutchen, obviously still in preseason mode, decided to have a little fun after Thibodeau — a longtime NBA assistant in his first head-coaching job — protested a foul call against Taj Gibson on the Mavericks’ first offensive possession.

”At least say hello first as a head coach before you start yelling,” McCutchen said with a smile. ”Congratulations … now you can start yelling.”

That’s just common NBA courtesy, you guys. A coach always has to say hi to the refs for the first time before he can properly chide them for making a bad call. Everyone knows that. How gauche of Thibs. Such a faux pas. Didn’t Doc Rivers teach him anything?

The bright side is that now that Thibodeau has been officially welcomed to the NBA, he’s allowed to complain about anything he wants with no worry of punishment. He will receive no technicals and at least 95 percent of calls will go his way. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.

If you haven’t heard, the NBA is cracking down on complaining this year. Looked at the ref crazy? That’s a technical. Say he’s stupid? That’s another one. It’s likely that even just thinking that a referee might have made a mistake could result in a T, so teams are going to have to try very hard to keep calm and carry on when the going gets rough. If they don’t, this season is going to be an ejection festival and the entire league is invited. And now that the NBA has just doubled the cost for getting hit with a tech, players have extra incentive to keep their mouths shut.

That’s exactly what new Atlanta Hawks head coach Larry Drew is preaching to his team.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michael Cunningham:

“Let the officials make the calls and play,” he told [the Hawks]. “That’s a big part of our growth. We are always complaining to officials about calls. We have got to get that [stuff] out of our system. That starts here in practice.”

When players broke the huddle at the end of the game, Drew delivered the same message. He elaborated on his reasoning in an interview afterward.

“To me nothing positive comes out of that,” he said. “[Officials] are not going to change the call, so just leave them alone and just play basketball. It’s a very emotional game, and I understand that. … [But] we don’t want to get into being a team that complains a lot and always disputing calls and that type thing.”

Perfect. No problems for Atlanta, then. They only had eight players get T’d up last year, so they should be fine. Josh Smith is usually pretty good about keeping his head and Joe Johnson’s heart rate rarely exceeds 75. One team down, 29 to go.

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