Storyline: Officiating Complaints

948 rumors in this storyline

Later, the root of Wall’s frustration trickled out. By the seventh question, Wall was asked whether he’s running out of patience, and he mentioned the officiating. A team staffer responded, “Thanks, John,” as a way to end the chat with reporters and save Wall from saying anything dangerous. However, Wall did not appreciate how Lillard attempted 15 free throws compared with his five, and he wanted to express that. “I’m always positive. I’s just a lot of bull—- that — c’mon, man,” Wall said. “These guys getting all the calls, and these guys are jump shooters. You got a guy that shot the ball 12 for 29 and then shot 15 free throws.” Another staffer chimed in and warned Wall to be careful so he wouldn’t get fined by the NBA. “I don’t care about that,” Wall responded.

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The NBA admitting an obvious travel by 76ers center Joel Embiid was not called only added to Borrego’s frustration in comments before Sunday’s road game against the Detroit Pistons. “It’s tough. I had to read that thing last night, and it was like I had to live it all over again,” Borrego said of the NBA’s report, which acknowledged Embiid traveled with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter before making a 3-pointer that tied the game. The 76ers went on to win in overtime 133-132. “It does nothing” making peace with the error, Borrego said of the NBA’s policy of publicly acknowledging late-game mistakes in close games.

Truth be told, McCutchen can take the list from there and add, oh, a dozen or more details about how this massive adjustment in player legislation has changed the hoops landscape. But the most relatable litmus test, the thing that should be remembered as we all decide whether or not to be incensed by it all, is that McCutchen hasn’t had to change his cell phone number just yet. “Coaches and general managers most certainly have my number,” McCutchen told The Athletic. “But the phone has not been ringing off the hook. There have been some points-of-clarification calls that we have fielded, but not to the point where people are just calling up to say that this is wrong, or a debacle. I think that everyone is waiting to see about our consistency, about our will, to see if we’re going to see it through.”

“The league’s going soft, man,” Rudy Gay said. “It’s tough, man. It’s a contact sport. A contact sport. I understand that you’re changing the direction of the player, but right now it’s overboard a little bit. I mean, it’s been a point of emphasis, but you’re trying to get – you can’t touch guys. Guys are about to run, and basketball is a physical game. That’s what we lift weights for, right? “If you take the physical nature away from it, then – I mean obviously we have to adapt. It’s going to take some time. And if that’s the rule, then we’ve got to find a way to do it.” But as one general manager who will remain nameless made clear, that doesn’t mean they have to be happy about it. “They could call it every play or no plays,” he said bluntly. “Fucking absurd.”

He’s 6-8 and 260 pounds (at least) and runs like a guard. He darts to the hoop but, unlike Harden or Russell Westbrook or Kyrie Irving or pick your favorite guard, his path isn’t altered when he draws the same contact. This drives him crazy, and he likes it when he gets aerial cover from his coach, his organization, and even the local beat writers covering him. In the postgame huddles he used to hold with myself, The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd and ESPN’s David McMenamin, this was often a topic. Most mornings the complaints and commiserating never made it into the next morning’s story. Occasionally he’d go on record.

“It’s going to be a challenge for the league to call it the same. We’re calling so many fouls, a lot of it off the ball, that even during the course of the game it changes,” said McMillan, who lamented his team’s inability to stay in front of Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague in Monday’s 101-91 loss to the Timberwolves. “We’re trying to adjust to the rules with these touch fouls, grabbing and touching can be called a foul every possession down the floor. It would screw up the game. You’re not calling it every time down the floor, therefore something needs to change.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

After the Lakers dropped to 0-3 to start the season following a 143-142 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the steamed coach opened his postgame news conference with comments about the officiating thus far this season. “Let me start here. … I wasn’t going to say anything. I was going to save my money, but I just can’t anymore,” Walton said. “It’s [74] points in the paint [by the Lakers] to 50, [and yet] again they outshoot us from the free-throw line — 38 free throws [to 26 by the Lakers]. Watch the play where I got a technical foul. Watch what happened to LeBron James’ arm. It’s the same thing that James Harden and Chris Paul [drew fouls on and] shot 30 free throws on us the night before. … We are scoring 70 points a night. In the paint.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

Added Walton: “Watch how Josh Hart plays this game. He played 40 minutes tonight. All he does is attack the rim. Zero free throws tonight. Zero. So to me, it doesn’t matter. I know they’re young, I get that. But if we are going to play a certain way, let’s not reward people for flopping 30 feet from the hole on plays that have nothing to do with that possession. They’re just flopping just to see if they get a foul call. And then not reward players that are physically going to the basket and getting hit. It’s not right.”

“It seems like a little bit of a double standard going around this thing,” Green told Bay Area News Group. “That’s just me, though. I could be wrong. I don’t got all the answers.” Green suggested he would have received a harsher suspension had he been involved in the incident. He cited his one-game suspension in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after receiving a Flagrant 1 foul in Game 4 for attempting to punch LeBron James in the groin after James stepped over him.
4 weeks ago via ESPN

Green was asked how they fix the foul problem. “I don’t know,” Green said. “Some of them are questionable. Like Klay’s one, Gary Harris is a hell of a cutter, you got to be into his body. He’s flying off the screen to his right hand, he’s great at that. So you body up and then you get called for going over the screen, I don’t know what you do right there, but in the same sense some of the fouls we have are just dumb as hell. Like we’re in the bonus like six, seven, eight minutes to go in every quarter, we’re still fouling — so I think some of [the calls] are a bit questionable and then some of them are on us, just ridiculous.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

Warriors star Stephen Curry believes his team will adjust, but he acknowledge that the game is being called differently than it has in the past. “A lot of it is just the speed of the game,” Curry said. “You can’t really simulate defensive possessions like that in the offseason, you got to kind of adjust on the fly. It’s definitely called differently this year early, they’ve demonstrated that. So we got to adjust if that’s the way it’s going to be consistently. But that’s a common theme the first three games of the regular season, why teams have had a lot of momentum early, it’s because we put them on the free throw line. Obviously, you know how that affects the game in terms of easy points and also slowing the game down. We got to make adjustments.”

If there’s one adjustment the Cavs can make for Game 3, it’s to simply move on from what happened here. “At the end of the day, if you don’t give effort and you don’t play hard, you never give yourself a chance to win,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day, you control what you can control. Just go out and play. Make or miss, you think you got fouled, you think it’s a travel — you have to get back on defense and communicate. That’s what Golden State wants. They want you to hang back, complain to the refs because they’re going to come down and knock a three in your face.”
6 months ago via ESPN

The NBA’s new vice president and head of referee development and training, McCutchen observes the Game 1 crew move with precision from end to end. McCutchen, after a 25-year career as one the league’s most highly-regarded game officials, is pleased with what he’s witnessing tonight. It isn’t merely that the calls are decisive and clean — with the world’s top players even, at times, raising their hands in acknowledgment that they’d committed a foul — it’s how they’re being made. “It’s not about the minutiae of the 100 percent accuracy,” McCutchen says in the second quarter. “I’m looking at our positioning. Our mind is given away by our body. If we are in dependable positions, then we’re adhering to our principles and this will lead to good work. Tonight, their bodies are showing that they’re in control of their minds. And if we’re in the right places, then I trust our judgment.”
6 months ago via ESPN

One row up and 10 seats over, Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations — and McCutchen’s boss — is similarly pleased as an exciting game with a razor-thin margin heads toward the midway point of the fourth quarter. Spruell, hired two summers ago, has presided over an initiative by the NBA to improve officiating. “This is the quality product of intense competition being played out by great players on the court and adjudicated by excellent referees,” Spruell would say the following morning. “That’s what you’re sitting there watching. In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘We’re getting another clean game.’ And then what happened happened.”
6 months ago via ESPN

By and large, according to the league, NBA officials get the vast majority of calls correct. An independent website examining data from the controversial “last two-minutes reports” determined that more than 92 percent of calls during that period are correct. Moreover, the league’s data shows that referees in this year’s playoffs, including Game 1 of the Finals, have an accuracy rate of 92.6 percent in the last two minutes and overtime when taking into account whistles and non-calls. “NBA officiating,” McCutchen says frequently, “is about excellence, not perfection.”

Plenty will be discussed following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 124-114 Game 1 loss against the Golden State Warriors. But the two plays getting the most attention happened in the final minute of regulation, with LeBron James’ overturned block/charge and JR Smith’s blunder after grabbing an offensive rebound following George Hill’s missed free throw. Here is the explanation from the NBA officials on the 50/50 call that went against Cleveland:

Tyronn Lue: “For our team to come out and play their hearts out and compete the way we did, man, I mean, it’s bad. It’s never been done before where you know he’s outside the restricted, and then you go there and overturn the call and say it’s a block. It’s never been done, ever, in the history of the game. And then (Thursday) in the Finals on the biggest stage, when our team played well, played our (butt) off, man, it ain’t right. It ain’t right.”

For Beal, the series has encouraged him not to predict how the officials’ whistle will blow. “Every game is different because every ref is different. Every level of play, every level of physicality, is different. I never come in with the mind-set that every call is going to be the same,” Beal said Monday. “I expect them to be different.” Beal did not break down video footage of his six Game 4 fouls. The review would have been pointless, he said. “At the end of the day, I know if I fouled a guy or not. If I fouled him, I fouled him. I know how to keep myself out of those situations moving forward,” Beal said. “But if I didn’t foul him and they called me for a foul, I know I didn’t foul him, I’m not going to change anything.”
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