Monty McCutchen attributed the missed call to “a lack of fundamentals” from the referees involved. As James drove, the baseline referee, Jacyn Goble, was in motion in an effort to gain the best angle. While Goble’s intentions were good, the end result left him in a position where he was unable to clearly see the foul. “We want our referees in a still position,” says McCutchen. “We want movement to be purposeful, meaning, ‘Oh, someone stood in front of me. I need to make a definitive step to the left one step.’ But we can’t allow ourselves to get into rapid movement at the same time that the play is coming to a head.
McCutchen says he is confident the issue that led to the missed call in Boston can be corrected and that referees will work tirelessly to be in the best position to get every call right. “It really is impactful to referees to miss calls,” says McCutchen. “They’re not flippant about it. They don’t leave with a lack of remorse. But you have to move on. You have to get to the next game. That doesn’t help the teams that were aggrieved. We understand that. But we have to continue to pursue excellent work even up against our imperfections. That way you turn one call and you sort of nip it right there instead of turning it into a progression of bad calls.”
Magic Johnson: In last night’s @Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Celtics the referees completely blew the call on LeBron in the closing seconds. What made it worse is there was a referee right up under the basket watching the play unfold!
Lakers legend James Worthy was very critical of the referees after the game, saying that this mistake, which was later acknowledged by the NBA, decided the outcome of the game. “It’s pathetic and it’s embarrassing for the NBA referees because they’re really inconsistent with their calls,” Worthy said. “Darvin [Ham] is right – they call touchy calls with guys and LeBron gets hit a lot.
“As much as you try not to put it on the officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult,” Ham said. “There’s a bunch of stuff we could have did better in this game, but for the most part, we competed our behinds off, played the right way, played together, stayed aggressive, playing down, playing in the paint. And it’s unfortunate that the game ends off a play like that.” “We got cheated,” forward Anthony Davis said.
“He fouled him. He fouled him. Clearly. Clearly,” said Davis, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his second game back from injury. “It’s bulls---. But at the end of the day, like, it’s unacceptable. And I guarantee nothing is gonna happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight, honestly. It’s a blatant foul. Pat [Beverly] got all ball on I think Brown — Jaylen Brown. They call a foul. And Bron gets smacked across the arm [and they don’t]. It’s unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad. They were bad tonight.”
Lewis did not care for Beverley’s attempt to provide evidence of the foul and gave him a technical foul. As Beverley walked back to the Lakers bench, he held the camera in the air while pointing at it and looking back at Lewis. “I mean, just ridiculous,” ABC’s Mike Breen said. “And Eric Lewis rightfully T's him up.”
Sources not authorized to speak publicly said the Lakers were quickly informed by NBA officiating staff after the game that a foul should’ve been called on the play. Later, crew chief Eric Lewis said the officials should’ve whistled a foul. “There was contact,” he told a pool reporter. “At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”
It’s the second time a potential James game-winner went without a call this month; the Lakers learned James should’ve shot free throws after a drive in the first overtime of a two-overtime loss to Dallas. The Lakers also should’ve been granted a potential game-tying free throw when Kendrick Nunn made a three against Sacramento on Jan. 18 with less than 10 seconds left. “It’s been building,” James said after the game. “Because you guys seen some of the games we’ve lost this year with late-game missed calls. We had an opportunity to literally win the game.”
LeBron James: “I had the second one in the last few weeks for myself — against Dallas, had an opportunity to win on a foul call. K-Nunn the other day had an opportunity to tie the game if the four-point play is called. I don’t understand. I don’t understand what we’re doing. And I watch basketball every single day. I watch games every single day. And I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”
Jovan Buha: LeBron James on the final possession: “You saw my reaction. … It’s challenging. I don’t get it.” pic.twitter.com/sz2hODTDQi
Marc J. Spears: Interesting pool report on final seconds of regulation of Lakers at Boston. pic.twitter.com/XhrRWobOv2
HoopsHype: Rui Hachimura on no foul call vs. Celtics: "It was too obvious. I was right in front of it too. We heard the noise, the sound and everybody saw it. And the referee was right there in front of them." pic.twitter.com/HxR1zfX4xa
With two All-Star appearances on his résumé and a max contract in the bank, he was figuring that situation could change a bit coming into the season. It hasn’t. If anything, it has gotten worse. “I don’t know,’’ LaVine said. “I keep attacking; I try to at least. It’s not like I’m not going to the hole and trying to get contact. It’s frustrating. I try to play through it.’’
Entering the game against the Celtics on Monday, he was averaging 4.3 free throws, his lowest total since the 2016-17 season with the Timberwolves. “Maybe I have to learn how to sell it a little better,’’ LaVine said. “I’ve never been good about selling it to get calls. I try to get the and-one. I’ll keep fighting through it. If not, there are other ways to combat it and get to the line. I’ll figure it out.’’
Ben Anderson: "I should have gotten thrown out, that play was gross." Will Hardy said he should have been ejected after the refs badly blew a bad foul that could have injured Jordan Clarkson. #TakeNote | @kslsports
Eric Walden: Jordan Clarkson, on his fall: It’s a little swollen. It hurts a bit. But that’s just part of the game. (Insert wry smile to indicate he does not think that should have been part of the game.)
So with 24 seconds remaining, there first was a technical foul issued to Adebayo by referee Tony Brothers and then another from referee Nick Buchert, leaving Adebayo ejected. “I mean, me personally, I don’t really get bent out of shape about fouls,” Adebayo said, with the Heat turning their attention to Friday’s rematch against the Celtics at TD Garden. “My biggest thing is like, my mom taught me ever since I was younger, if somebody’s talking to you, you look at them dead in the eyes. I feel like that’s unprofessional when players come to try come talk to you and you don’t look at them and, you know, acknowledge them. “I feel like that has to be addressed. And that’s conversations we don’t get to see, we don’t get to hear when they go in their corners. I feel like they should be put on the podium and have to explain certain situations throughout the game.”
Adebayo said no detailed explanations were forthcoming, with a different officiating crew to work Friday’s game. “I asked if I’m getting fouled? They tell me, no,” he said. “And then I go watch film and they were just pushing me. So it’s one of those things where it’s kind of like, ‘Come on bro, y’all are out here to make the game fair.’ And I’m not saying dudes don’t get touched more than others. “But our team shooting a total of nine free throws and we’re one of the teams that gets in the paint, lives in the paint, and you’re telling me we only shoot nine? Come on, man.”
Clutch Points: "Going into the season, it was really bench decorum and the palming violation...travelling in the last 2-3 weeks, it's really skyrocketed across the league." @Shams Charania talks about Steph Curry's travel on #RunItBack (via https://t.co/cXsuVzL7C6) pic.twitter.com/8yutBSTOdU
HoopsHype: Mike Budenholzer not happy with the officiating: “I just think sometimes the hits that Giannis is taking, the league needs to look at them. The league needs to protect him.” pic.twitter.com/cne1nben1h
Kings coach Mike Brown was not happy with officials following his team’s 110-107 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday at FTX Arena. Brown made his feelings clear during his postgame news conference, saying he felt Heat guard Tyler Herro traveled before making a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining. “We’ve got a lot of respect for the program, the Miami Heat, (coach Erik) Spoelstra and everything they’ve done, and Tyler Herro’s a great player, but he traveled,” Brown said. “He traveled on the last play and I would not be doing my job if I didn’t come up here and protect my guys. My guys fought their behind off for close to 48 minutes, and to (see Herro) pump fake and then sidestep, or hop and then one-two and a shot, and not make that call, to me it’s just unbelievable.”
HoopsHype: Steve Kerr on carries: "Basically the whole league does that. They've been doing it since Allen Iverson convinced the referees that it wasn't a carry. What Jordan (Poole) does is a carry, but the whole league has been doing it." pic.twitter.com/aBcuweZxuX
It was a ruling that did not sit well with Curry. “It was an awful call,” he said afterward with a smile of resignation. “What did you think I was going to say? I was walking to the free-throw line, thinking I was going to get three free throws and even the score with a minute and some change left.” But he also believed there was more than incidental “high-five” contact. “It was a tough one,” he said. “I clearly felt a lot of contact. I don’t know what they saw besides the high-five contact they talked about. But you got to be allowed to finish your motion. That’s what I felt like. “Especially when you slow it down to slo-mo, it’s pretty clear there was a lot of contact. But what do I know about calls?”
Butler said he thought it was worth challenging, convinced by Lowry that the case for reversal was on solid ground. “I mean, I don’t know all the rules. Kyle does,” Butler said, before the Heat turned their attention to Wednesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings at FTX Arena. “I know I hit the ball first. And then, yeah, a little bit of hand after the follow through. So I told Spo and, ‘Hey, look man, I think you should challenge and I did hit the ball first.’ “And then Kyle was like, ‘Did you hit the ball first?’ And, ‘Yes, I hit the ball first, Kyle.’ And Kyle was like, ‘I know the rules. It’s our ball.’ "
Seemingly baited by Ja Morant, Simmons got his sixth foul with the Nets down 124-118 with 3:52 left. “It wasn’t a foul. He called it a foul, made a mistake. It is what it is,” Simmons said. “Really frustrating. But all I can do now is support my team from the bench. But f–k yeah it’s frustrating. It’s not a foul. That was bulls–t. It’s frustrating because it’s a late game, it’s fourth quarter, it’s a physical close game. It’s the NBA. This is not college. It’s not high school. Some people are going to get hit, some people will bleed. It’s basketball.”
When asked what explanation he got from referee JT Orr, Simmons said he got none. “There was no explanation for that call. He didn’t have anything to say,” Simmons said. “Same as the technical foul. He said because Ja had a tech he had to give me a tech because I said something. But it wasn’t malicious, it wasn’t at the referee. I told him it was just a part of basketball. People have emotions. I didn’t cuss at him, I didn’t call him anything. I said it was a bulls–t call, which it was.”
Nets star Kevin Durant said he didn't believe that last foul should have been called on Simmons, either, but that he knows calls usually even out over the course of a game. "I didn't think that one was a foul, but it is what it is," Durant said. "Ben's a veteran in this league, so he trusts himself, we trust him and it's just about bouncing back next game."
SportsCenter: Jayson Tatum got ejected from the Celtics' preseason game after his second tech.
Draymond Green, who already picked up an earlier technical foul, had a mini altercation with Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown toward the end of the second quarter that went unpenalized. Two technicals are an automatic ejection. Celtics forward Grant Williams, who is a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, spoke to Yahoo Sports about the minor controversy.
“By the rules, a tech is a tech regardless of the situation. But as players, all we want to see is consistency,” Williams told Yahoo Sports after practice Tuesday. “When the refs decided not to give Dray a second tech, we expected it and we moved on. We didn’t harp on it. We just hope that grace is extended for everyone.”
“If the refs are taking into consideration that a player — a key player — already has a technical and then they decide for whatever reason that a similar incident doesn’t warrant a second technical, that’s fine as long as there is consistency. The problem is there is no consistency,” Williams told Yahoo Sports. “As players, we just want to know how the game is going to be officiated and then we’ll adjust. I personally believe you have to understand the magnitude of the game and how an ejection can impact the game. No one wants to see the game impacted by an ejection. But either all techs are the same or you consider the situation when [contemplating] a second tech. We just want the rules to be enforced straight forward and consistently.”
Nick Friedell: Max Strus on replay overturning his shot in Game 7: "I don't know how that was called that after I've seen the video. They say they have that rule to take that rule out of the game and the human error makes an error on the video. So I don't know -- hopefully I don't get fined."
As the Miami Heat digest a "heartbreaking" 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Erik Spoelstra and his staff believe that a momentum-changing overturned call in the third quarter will provide a "case study" for the NBA as far as replay reviews go moving forward. The call in question came with 11:04 remaining in the third quarter, when Heat guard Max Strus knocked down a 3-pointer deep in the corner that cut the Celtics' lead, which had been as many as 17 earlier in the first half, to 56-54.
Ira Winderman: Officiating errors cited by NBA in last two minutes of Friday's Heat-Celtics: -- Two uncalled 3-second violations on Adebayo. -- Two fouls on Celtics' White that should not have been called. -- An uncalled Tatum travel. -- An uncalled Celtics 5-second inbound violation.
The Celtics became unglued in the third quarter of their Game 1 matchup against the Miami Heat and a lot of that was the team’s own doing according to head coach Ime Udoka. All season long, Udoka has prided himself on trying to make the Celtics be a team that doesn’t get caught up in battling with the officials. However, as the Celtics watched the Heat erupt for a 39-14 third quarter explosion, Udoka “We all got caught up in officiating a little bit in that quarter when they got physical,” Udoka admitted. “Instead of trying to make the right play, drive and kick, get to the basket, we were looking for fouls, and that led to some of those turnovers.”
“Got out-physicaled, got out-toughed,” Udoka said. “They looked like they came out in the second half and wanted to up their physicality and aggression on both ends, and they did that. I don’t think we obviously responded well on either end of the floor. We had eight of our 16 turnovers in that quarter, played in the crowd on offense, got sped up. And then defensively, offensive rebounds, getting muscled around in the post. Some poor fouls got them to the free throw line. “So, flipped very quickly and just lost our composure. We won three quarters other than that, but obviously that one is going to stand out. We semi-bounced back in the fourth and started to play well again and matched their physicality, but 39-14 on 2-for-15 is tough to overcome.”
Seeing NBA officials go to the replay center at midcourt has become a commonplace yet frustrating aspect of these playoffs, with refs determining if contact is worth a flagrant foul. What’s a flagrant? Is it a Flagrant 2? What happened to the hard playoff foul, to reasonably stop a player from scoring on a touch foul and going for a 3-point play? The interpretations of the rules have changed through the years and with multiple camera angles equipped in every arena, there’s no lack of officiating experts at home or in the stands.
Monty McCutchen was a longtime official and now works in the league office as head of officiating. He spoke to Yahoo Sports recently, addressing concerns that have been on full display over the past few weeks. The data shows the officials are blowing the whistle more but getting more calls right, even though McCutchen admits he understands the frustration with the frequency of reviews. “I do think it’s a fair criticism,” McCutchen said to Yahoo Sports. “I would say then, that we’re sort of betwixt, in between a rock and a hard place there. Based on our desire for the health of our players. It is a difficult spot for our referees to be in. Do I think we’ve gone a couple of times when we didn’t need to? Yes, I do. And we try to train and calibrate that. “And the reason we’re blowing our whistle more is because the play is more and more assertive and more aggressive. And in some cases, even rough.”
It seems obvious when the notion is presented aloud, but it’s not that there’s more rough play — there’s just less congestion for incidental contact. Almost everything has to be done with intention, thus blurring the lines. “It’s hard to get windup and impact when all 10 players are playing in the paint like Charles Barkley did,” McCutchen told Yahoo Sports. “But when you start playing in space, you get a lot more of the [Memphis wing] Dillon Brooks chase down, a lot more of the layup where someone is recovering like [Dallas’] Dorian Finney-Smith.”
Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul registered more fouls than points for the first time in his postseason career in the Suns' 111-101 Game 4 loss to the Mavericks on Sunday, causing the veteran point guard to vow to adjust his play to avoid the officials' whistles moving forward. "It was crazy, man. It was crazy," Paul said after finishing with six fouls and five points in 23 minutes. "I can't put myself in the situations to give [the referees] that ability to do that. I just got to look at myself and figure out how to be better."
“I mean this sincerely: I do respect that, at the end of the day, it is a hard job, right? I couldn’t do their job. You couldn’t do their job,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said Sunday evening in an exclusive interview with The Athletic. “Officiating is hard, just like playing is hard and coaching is hard, and I think we all have a standard of trying to get better and improve. And at the end of the day, that’s what stood out to me. We have to improve. That wasn’t a quality playoff basketball game, and I think officiating played a role in that.”
Kellan Olson: Devin Booker said he's been in 500 basketball games and he's never seen one quite like today. I asked him if he's ever seen someone get called for a technical foul like that while getting fouled and he said he has not.
Gerald Bourguet: Asked Devin Booker about the technical he got on the play he got fouled. He said the explanation he was given was that he flailed his arm on the follow-through. Has he ever seen a player get a tech on a play they were fouled on? "I have not."
Gerald Bourguet: Chris Paul on the foul trouble: "It was crazy, man. Crazy." Said they have to bounce back in Game 5
Jay King: Though Udoka believes the refs misjudged when they ruled Smart was not shooting the 3, "Overall, it's one play. You have to be better in the third quarter. ... Throughout the game, we could be better. In the third quarter especially with the turnovers and things of that nature."
Jay King: Marcus Smart when asked if he was shooting on that foul: "What did you guys see? ... It's not like he got me when it was down low. I was already in my shooting motion." Said he was shooting regardless of whether the Bucks fouled him.
Eric Nehm: Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer tells reporters that the Bucks were not trying to foul Marcus Smart and said that he thought Smart was trying to do the "Kevin Durant" rip-through move to get 3 free throws. He thought the two free throws were appropriate in that situation.
Kendra Andrews: Draymond Green: “I am never going to change the way I play basketball. It’s gotten me this far. Gotten be three championships, All-Stars, defensive player of the year. I’m not going to change.”
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on Draymond's flagrant 2 not being reduced: "I have no reaction. We are powerless in this stuff. Whatever the league decides, or whatever the referees decide, that's what stands. We have to move onto the next game."
Shams Charania: Warriors star Draymond Green’s Flagrant Foul 2 in Game 1 will not be reduced by the NBA, league spokesperson tells me and @Anthony Slater.
Anthony Slater: That means Draymond Green has two flagrant points. In the playoffs, four flagrant points mean an automatic one-game suspension. Flagrant 1 equals one
Mary B (Draymond Green's mom): I still can’t believe that CALL on @Money23Green ! Trying to do the right thing! If that was blatant his face would have hit the floor! #REFSSUCK
Marc Stein: Draymond Green just ejected from Game 1 in Memphis after what was ruled a Flagrant 2 foul. Wow. More NBA from me: marcstein.substack.com
Ben Golliver: Warriors react to Draymond Green’s ejection from Game 1 vs. Grizzlies for Flagrant Foul 2 pic.twitter.com/9BnbcAMv64
Austin Krell: When asked for comment on Joel Embiid’s being fined for complaining about officiating, Doc Rivers joked: “Joel Embiid got fined? Wow…dammit.” When the fact that Nick Nurse was not fined for his comments was brought up, Rivers declined comment and said, “Does that sound fair?”
JD Shaw: Sixers center Joel Embiid has also been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, the NBA announced.
The Pelicans shot 42 free throws to the Suns' 15, and it was a 17-2 disparity in the first half. The Suns were called for 12 more fouls in what was a classic physical playoff game. "You can slice it any way you want to," Williams said. "In a playoff game that physical, [the disparity] is amazing. Coaches shouldn't have to come up to the microphone and feel like they're going to get their heads cut off for speaking the truth."
Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins often has a cool, calm demeanor, but he felt the need to stand up for his players after their 119-118 loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 of their NBA playoff series Saturday. "In my opinion, one of the most poorly-officiated games I've ever seen in my NBA career. All five of our starters are borderline fouled out in the first quarter."
Jenkins also pointed out one play where he said officials blew the whistle before contact happened on a Timberwolves player. "I've never seen a more inconsistent, arrogant officiated game," Jenkins said. "It's embarrassing. I'm at a loss for words. I'm not going to go as far as saying that's the reason we lost, but I'm going to let it be known that's messed up."
Geoff Calkins: Taylor Jenkins: “I’ve never seen a more inconsistent and arrogant officiated game.” Also, “From the get go it was foul foul foul foul. It’s embarrassing.”
Meghan Triplett: “In my opinion one of the most poorly officiated games I've ever seen in my NBA career…” “I've never seen a more inconsistent, arrogant officiated game. So I'll take whatever hits coming my way…” -Taylor Jenkins after the @Memphis Grizzlies game
Meghan Triplett: Dillon Brooks said, “I’ve got his check for him” if Taylor Jenkins gets fined for his remarks on the officiating tonight.
Meghan Triplett: "When I was growing up [and] when I was in the league the first 3 years when I watched playoff basketball, there was barely any calls called. Let the players play and figure it out. I felt like they just wanted to run the show..." -Dillon Brooks on the officiating in Game 4
Damichael Cole: Ja Morant said he’s also willing to take a fine. He wasn’t happy about the officiating, like Taylor Jenkins. “S—-t terrible. I don’t even foul like that.” “I’m right behind coach. I’ll take mine too.”
Drew Hill: There have been 210 fouls called over the four games between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves. That’s 52.5 fouls per game. The league average per game this season was 39.3 fouls per game.
Brad Townsend: As Luka Doncic sat down behind a microphone and waited for question from reporters, his eyes briefly bulged and he said loudly enough for the mic to pick it up: "Forty-two?" Yep, Utah shot 42 free-throws to Dallas' 23.
Tim Bontemps: As he walked off the court, Joel Embiid gave a *very* sarcastic golf clap to all three of the officials, and then turned around and did it twice more as he continued to walk off.
Barry Jackson: Foul calls were pretty even - Hawks 26, Heat 24. But Trae Young just said: "If the refs are gonna let them be that physical and not call fouls, it’s going to be hard" to win.
Derek Bodner: Joel Embiid says he told Nick Nurse "Respectfully, to stop bitching about calls." "I feel like every foul was legit, and should have been more, honestly
Tim Bontemps: Nick Nurse on his late exchange with Joel Embiid: “(Embiid) said, ‘I’m gonna keep making all my free throws if you keep fouling me,’ and I said, ‘Well, you might have to.’”
March 21, 2023 | 9:20 pm EDT Update
Thunder 'open-minded' to SGA playing in back-to-backs?
Joe Mussatto: Mark Daigneault said the Thunder is “open-minded” to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander playing on back-to-backs moving forward (like the upcoming one Thursday/Friday.) Daigneault said SGA has responded well from abdominal strain: “The back to backs are more on the table now when they were then.”
Neither Ayton nor Durant made the trip to Los Angeles. Durant is scheduled for a re-evaluation later this month.
“We have some things to clean up,” Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker said. “We know roles are going to change when KD comes back, but polishing everything up before he comes back is important, too.”
Scott Agness: #Pacers Tyrese Haliburton (right ankle sprain) has been upgraded to questionable. Chris Duarte (sore left ankle) is also questionable for Wednesday at Toronto.
March 21, 2023 | 7:58 pm EDT Update
Damian Lillard not interested in rebuilding with Portland
NBACentral: Damian Lillard says he’s not interested in rebuilding “That’s not what I’m interested in. That’s what the frustrating part of it is. Talking about what’s gonna happen next season. And us ‘building’. That’s not what I’m here to do especially at this stage of my career”
Coach Darvin Ham said this extended push hasn’t left his team mentally fatigued in any noticeable ways. He’s mostly seen the opposite. “It’s caused them to come to the game on high alert and high awareness,” he said. “Just having something to play for. You’d be surprised how comfortable guys are with that as opposed to having to play a meaningless game. The fact that these games carry so much weight, I think, is causing our guys to lock in more. I don’t see any stress. I just see guys figuring it out because they want to be a part of this team getting into the postseason and making a run. “So the stress, the anxiety, I don’t see that. My coaching staff and I, we talked about that this morning, they don’t see that from our players. I see a bit of hunger.”