Well, the NBA finally got it right
. Unfortunately, they got it right about a day and one crippling loss too late for the San Antonio Spurs.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank has officially admitted what my eyes and huge, throbbing brains had already told me: Derek Fisher fouled Brent Barry
. And it should have been called. Said Frank: "With the benefit of instant replay, it appears a foul call should have been made."
Of course, this statement followed a totally contradictory assertion by league spokesman Brian McIntyre, who had previously claimed that referees Joey Crawford, Joe Forte and Mark Wunderlich may have been following a league guideline in failing to make a call. "There is an explanation in the rule book that there are times during games when the degree of certainty necessary to determine a foul involving physical contact is higher. That comes during impact time when the intensity has risen, especially at the end of a game. In other words, if you're going to call something then, be certain."
Riiiiight. Because Fisher jumping into the air and landing on Barry is something that's really hard for a crack officiating crew to be "certain" of. As they said over at College Humor
: "Fisher's hip slammed Barry in the ear. How is that not a foul? (Interesting fact: Fisher's hip is like a seashell; if you put your ear to it, you can hear the sound of Jazz fans booing.)" And Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smells something brown and stinky.
"It's a very strange thing. If you talk to an official, the official will tell you that the game is called at the end of the game exactly like it is during the meat of the game. That's their story and they're going to stand by it. In reality, personally, I don't think that's true and I can give a thousand examples that things are called differently down the stretch where I think most referees feel -- and I agree with them -- that things need to be more definitive before you're going to make a call. A referee is going to be hesitant to make a call that could decide a game at the end unless it's really either gross or obvious. So, that's why I said, if I was an official, I would not have called that a foul at the end of the game."
Thanks for staying classy, Gregg. So, anyway, it appears that although they Spurs will probably get knocked out of the playoffs tonight because of that now officially incorrect no-call, they at least get the moral victory from knowing they got jobbed. Too bad there's no such thing as the Moral NBA Finals.
Labels: Brent Barry, Derek Fisher, Gregg Popovich, league-wide issues, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA playoffs, San Antonio Spurs