OK, so we all know the refs got it wrong at the end of the Spurs / Lakers game 4. And sadly, we all know the refs usually get it wrong. Let's be honest, even the refs know they're getting it wrong, but...

...whose fault is it? The refs are now regularly doing whatever it takes to keep the scrutiny off themselves. It is human nature to do so, and I don't have any particular faith in NBA refs to behave otherwise. For years, refs have put the whistle away for the final 5 seconds or so of any big game, because there is a notion that the "players should decide it."...in Thunderdome, apparently.

Unfortunately, the way the NBA is set up, either the refs are forced to decide the game either way (by awarding a player "gimmie" free throws or completely ignoring a mug job like they did). Almost universally, refs have decided to go the "ignore the foul" route, because this method has become an accepted - even anticipated - part of the game (just listen to the resigned post-game comments of Popovich and Barry - they know how this works).

You think the foul would have been called if Brent had gone straight up and forced harder contact? I don't. I think Fisher would have had to sucker-punch Barry at the end of that game to for a foul to be called, and I think Fisher - wiley veteran that he is - knew that too.

The Solution?
How about this. If a player is fouled in the final, let's say, 5 seconds of a game, the remaining time goes back up on the clock and instead of free throws, the offense can re-run the play (How many times could a team be fouled? Indefinitely - why? There's no incentive to keep allowing a team more chances at a game winning shot. And after each foul, the offense automatically gets 20 seconds to draw up a new play.) This shifts the advantage to the offense, but it would help ensure far fewer last last-second no calls, far fewer last-second fouls that everyone knows aren't going to get called, and would likely result in a lot more last-second game winning shots...sound exciting, Mr. Stern?)

This idea may not be perfect, but I think it has merit. If this change is made, the refs would no longer have to worry about "being responsible" for game-deciding free throws. Would it be sad to have to institute such a policy because referees don't have the intestinal fortitude to call games well? Yes, but it's a way to eliminate at least a little of the very flawed human nature out of NBA refereeing.

- Evil Ted

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
This. Is. Retarded. Hopefully tongue in cheek (but I doubt it). Fisher's shot hit the rim in the previous play; and like a lot of blown calls, they all tend to get balanced out over the course of the game. Everybody relax. There is no Lakers-Celtics conspiracy, and no Stern-Spurs conspiracy, (if there was, incidentally, how the hell do the Spurs get to win 4 titles in the last 9 years?)

I will grant you that Joey Crawford needs to be blown up and out of the league entirely, but not just for last night, but rather for his illustrious, out of proportion, craptastic body of work.

Blogger Unknown said...
- Evil Ted

Brent Barry traveled on the play. Watch closely in the youtube video you posted. So had the refs been right like you would have liked them to be, they would have called a travelling violation...oh wait, it's the NBA! Players never travel, especially Tim Duncan! (just watch the replays of game 4)

And isn't Manu setting a moving screen on the play? In the end I think it was a good thing not to call a foul on Fisher.

I know I'm French and I should be rooting for the Spurs...but hey they had the refs in their pockets against N.O...how about a little payback?


Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not sure where this belief the refs "swallow the whistle" in the last five seconds comes from. just remember back to the Heat/Mavs finals. Wade knew if he got anywhere near the hoop and anyone even looked at him along the way he would get a foul.

The refs fucking blow, plain and simple.

I'm not sure about this particular suggestion but I'm all for creative fixes like this. The "it all evens out attitude" is just weary, defeated talk. They should be trying to fix these problems. NBA fans/players/media have been living with a high level of bad calls for so long now that it's become NBA tradition and everybody just upholds that tradition. Screw that. I'm tired of hearing dippy through-the-looking-glass commentary like "it was a foul but a good no-call."

Saying that the refs suck is too easy. It's a hard game to call already, and on top of that they're asked to make gray-area judgments like in the game last night. None of the options on their current menu would have satisfied. Take it out of their hands.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Maybe the problem is handing playoff jobs to refs based on seniority. (I know they say its merit, but Crawford? Forte? really?)

These refs blew calls all game-- traveling on Duncan, swipes by Walton, pushing off by Ginobli, shoves by Touriaf, and on and on.

Think about it, in the last 30 seconds of a huge game they blew 3 calls: (1) Fish's shot on the rim, (2) Lamar's clean block on Parker called a goaltend, (3) Fish elbowed Barry in the head with 2 seconds left. These aren't debatable, the calls were obvious and clear. And they blew all 3 in the last 30 seconds a Game 4.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
I write with tongue in cheek 99% of the time. This time, however, I was genuinely annoyed, not so much with the call (as it is what refs do at the end of almost EVERY game, sadly), but with the reaction to the call afterward. From Barry saying he doesn't expect to get a call like that in the Western Conference Finals (shouldn't you expect the refereeing to be at its BEST in the playoffs???) to all of the "good non-call" talk...this league's officiating is abysmal, and to those who say we should roll over and stop talking about it have given up, and I don't want to hear from people willing to tolerate mediocrity and failure.

Barry's "travel" is marginal at best, but helps illustrate my point - we now rationalize bad calls by citing OTHER bad calls, because the bad calls are so ridiculously common. I'm past even saying "as long as the refs are consistent" with their calls... what if the calls are consistently BAD? Does that make consistency fine? "Well, the ump's strike zone is five feet over the batter's head, but at least he calls it consistently." C'mon.

The Wade situation had nothing to do with the last five seconds of any game. That was simply a series phantom fouls that we have all been trained to expect "superstars" to get in critical games: yet more foolish ref behavior that has become commonplace. Here's a hearty youtube sampling of Wade's phantom fouls, none of which were in the final 5 seconds:






But watch the last minute of the elimination game...there's no call in the final seconds against the Heat, even though a defensive foul could have easily been called on Peyton:


The refs have a very distinct method: officiate poorly for 47:55 minutes, then not at all for the last :05...

Pathetic, and not worthy of a professional sport.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
all sports are FAKE!!! LOL

Penguins getting Sidney Crosby

Knicks getting Ewing

top 3 picks in 2007 go to the less tanking teams

Toronto getting screwed out of Oden or Durant in 2006

Stars win the Cup (that foot was in the CREASE!!)

and so far Lakers Boston finals (even stern said he'd rather see that)

Gasol to Lakers

Garnett to Celtics

Shaq to Suns (I mean really? Marion for shaq? wtf?)

MLB lockout (Montreal was favoured to win, and lost everyone the year after)

Penguins getting the 1st pick (Fleury) 2nd pick (Malkin) 1st pick (Crosby) 2nd pick (Staal) in consecutive years

Chicago getting no.1 (a chance to draft a REAL pf after all those retarded drafts gawd some of those picks were stupid)

Toronto Franchises consistently mediocre cuz their attendance is always high so there's no point in winning another championship (seriously just go to an NHL game)

FYI all these things lead to one thing

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Evil Ted, you're looking at things completely the wrong way. With last night's game, it's clear that you should be focusing on the calls the Refs got RIGHT in the last few minutes of the game.

Oh...wait. Nevermind.

Blogger Elliot Cole said...
For everyone harping on how Fisher's shot hit the rim, it should be pointed out that Kobe traveled on that same possession.

And it was an offensive foul on Duncan, not a block on Odom earlier in the game.

And Parker was hit, forcing a travel before that.

We can do this all day. The fact that Fisher's shot clipped the rim doesn't justify the easy call at the end. There were plenty of calls missed...just this one was pretty obvious, and unfortunately dictated the outcome more than most.

Blogger Ed said...
Thank God there's another game tomorrow night. By Friday morning all you guys can be pontificating about something else. Jeez.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
you can make a call on every single possession - that´s the main problem.
all you can ask for is consistency, right now that´s not the case

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is the stupidest idea I have seen in a looooooong time.

Remember folks, the NBA is an entertainment organization focused on making money. If this wasn't the case the refs would call the game with the same consistency from beginning to end.

The "Hack-a-shaq" Rules are stupid too. If you want to eliminate this strategy, humble yourself and work on your free throws more often...with a shooting coach instead of partying at the local nightspots and picking up dames.

Although picking up dames is useful and important in and of itself!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not sure if I have an opinion on this idea - but many here have criticized it as stupid. Care to elaborate why?