Storyline: Officiating Complaints

1,282 rumors in this storyline

1 week ago via ESPN
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believed there was contact before Andre Iguodala’s strip that sealed the Golden State Warriors’ 114-111 win in Thursday night’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, but he didn’t blame the referees for not blowing the whistle. After the Warriors fouled with 10 seconds remaining, Lillard isolated against Iguodala on the left wing, attempting to create space to shoot a 3-pointer that would have tied the score.

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2 weeks ago via ESPN

Speaking of Tuesday’s GMs meeting: Multiple sources say the liveliest topic of discussion centered around the possibility of implementing a coach’s challenge at some point soon. Some in the room favored a more limited challenge system focused on black-and-white rulings: out of bounds plays, goaltending, and the like — but not fouls. Others argued coaches should be able to challenge foul calls. The league would likely favor the more restricted concept, if anything. Allowing coaches to challenge fouls is something of a Pandora’s box. Should they be able to challenge non-calls, too? There was also discussion of whether a challenge should cost a team one timeout regardless of whether the coach “wins” or “loses” the challenge. Some in the room were wary of coaches using the challenge to create an extra timeout. Also: What if a team is out of timeouts?

“We know how many free throws [Antetokounmpo] has shot per game,” Irving said. “He’s a great player in our league. We know how many times he goes to the basket and gets contact. We also know how many times we go to the basket and get contact. “It’s a playoff game. Guys are playing very aggressive. When you get into the bonus with 8 minutes left in the third, it’s a shocker. It will put something in your mind where you don’t want to touch anyone.”

After everything that happened in the wake of Game 1, when the Rockets were incensed with the officials and The Athletic story that followed fueled so much worldwide disdain for their Beautiful Mind style system, one had to wonder: How did all of the reaction land with Morey, who built this program that is designed for players to play the probabilities on a basketball floor as if it were a craps table? “I mean, I’ve been dealing with it for a while,” Morey said before deciding not to go any farther.

Spend half an hour talking to NBA vice president of referee development and training Monty McCutchen about this week’s hot topic — a divide between players and officials overshadowing the start of the league’s highest-profile series — and you get the feeling that conspiracy theories so often floated by fans, players, coaches and even general managers are mostly laughable. “It really is,” McCutchen told Yahoo Sports by phone on Wednesday. “That’s often the case. What’s on the inside is much more normal and mundane than human. We’re trying to get plays right. We want to serve the game well. We have the same desires individually for success in our careers that other people do in their careers, and you do that by being impartial and upholding standards with a certain resolve and will. You most certainly don’t do that by being vindictive and living through your emotions. I’m proud of our group that they consistently do good work.”

Several themes ran through our discussion, none more than the constant battle against public perception to ensure the game he loves remains impartial. McCutchen is essentially tasked with molding the NBA’s referees into a robot army capable of upholding standards void of emotion. “It’s like a race-car driver,” said McCutchen. “If you and I start driving 75 or 80 miles per hour, we might start to feel really uncomfortable behind the wheel. Like, I don’t feel like I’m able to take in the necessary information that allows me to be a good decision-maker at higher speeds, and those aren’t even high speeds compared to a race-car driver, but because they’ve trained, they’re able to process that information in ways that you and I can’t. It’s the same for referees.”

“If people can’t remove themselves from those emotions, then they’re not capable of working this time of year or they expose that they’re not capable if given the opportunity and can no longer handle this, and they go backwards instead of forwards,” said McCutchen. “It’s all in the training. If we don’t train well, then we have to live with the results of giving into our emotions, but don’t mistake in my opinion the fact that refereeing is not the same as playing. “Playing is a much different emotional experience, because you’re banging, you’re playing a physical game. It’s much different as a referee, where your job is to rise above emotion and get to standards. If we can uphold standards, then we’ve had a successful night, which is sort of the antithesis of emotion. You’re saying to yourself, ‘It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I have a standard to uphold.’ Through our process of vetting who’s having the best years, we feel highly confident — not perfect — that we have the people to rise above and uphold our standards.”

It did not match the extent the Rockets had at the beginning of this playoff series. Nonetheless, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the team plans to ask the NBA league office to rescind a double technical issued to Draymond Green and Nene late in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 115-119 Game 2 win over Houston on Tuesday at Oracle Arena. Green has four technicals, leaving him three shy of receiving a one-game suspension during the playoffs without pay. “Every time there’s an altercation, it’s a double technical. If you’re playing in the playoffs for a few rounds, those add up,” Kerr said. “If the way to handle it is to call a double technical, I think the league needs to consider that.”

It appears likely the NBA will rescind the double technicals based on recent precedent. Following Game 3 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA rescinded a double technical on Kevin Durant and JaMychal Green. After Green fouled Durant on a hard screen, the two players engaged with what appeared to be playful banter as the two walked toward the other side of the court. Both players looked perplexed after they were issued with double technicals. “It’s a competitive atmosphere out there,” Kerr said. “It’s a playoff game. Guys are going to get tangled up.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

“I think both teams just realized what the hell was going on the last two days,” Green said. “You can’t really turn a blind eye to anything in today’s day and age, with social media and all these things. So everyone was aware of all the talk about officiating and about foul calls — come out and play the game. And I think both teams did a great job of that. “They weren’t complaining about many calls, we weren’t complaining about many calls, because it’s kind of embarrassing for the game of basketball, how much has been talked about, about fouls and officiating. What about beating your man? What about stopping your man? No one talked anything about schemes the last two days. It’s all been about foul calls. I think both teams were locked in on coming out and playing the game to the best of their ability. You have to give credit to both clubs, both teams did that.”

“My brother is a referee,” Iguodala told Yahoo Sports. “He’s on the cusp of trying to get to the next level and I ask him a lot of questions. More times than not, he’s saying the referees are right. But my questions to him, and this is the one that gets him, is how do teams guard Steph and Klay [Thompson]? And he says, ‘Oh, they get hacked every time. He says Steph gets fouled 80 percent of the possessions that he’s in. He’s getting held, he’s getting pulled. They just hold him down.’ And teams are like, just get physical with him. We see all the memes where somebody is just knocking Steph down and it’s funny, right? But you never see it on the other side. You don’t see us knocking other people down and it becoming something because it’s just a foul. Foul, foul, foul, foul, foul.”

There’s been talk for years that the way to fix bad calls is to have robot or computer refs take the court over (seems terrifying), but when we got Gobert out he said all that ain’t necessary. “I think it would take something away from the game if you do that.” Gobert, one of the best defensive players in the league, says that carbon-based refs are fine, as long as the players are able to have honest talks with them. “Dialogue is the most important thing.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

The Houston Rockets believe officiating in last season’s Western Conference finals cost them an NBA championship, and in a report since sent to the league, tabulated the net result of 81 potential missed calls and non-calls in Game 7 of that series between Houston and the Golden State Warriors, according to the report and an accompanying memo, both of which have been obtained by ESPN. “Referees likely changed the eventual NBA champion,” says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “There can no be no worse result for the NBA.”

Rockets fuming about officiating

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the Rockets have been making a data-driven case with the NBA for quite some time that these Super Team Warriors are getting a major officiating advantage in these heavy-hitter matchups. And of all the specific examples that have been discussed with league officials, none has left them more suspect of the system than the 2018 Western Conference Finals. This series opener, more than anything, was salt being poured directly into that Rockets wound.
4 weeks ago via ESPN

“Well, if we go to Finals, I think Draymond (Green) and Kevin (Durant) are each on pace for about 42 technicals and six suspensions, so hopefully we can withstand that,” Kerr said, cracking a smile before becoming serious. “I will never understand the rule that everybody falls under the exact same category, in terms of whether you lose in four games in the first round or you play 25 games and you go to the Finals, that it’s the same technical fouls points that lead to a suspension. It seems strange.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

Kerr said he isn’t certain how the league should handle suspensions for technical during the playoffs, but he hopes the league office will consider a change. “I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Kerr said when asked how he would change the policy. “Series by series or maybe every two series. Just the way it is now doesn’t make a ton of sense. I’d like to see it revisited, but that’s coming from a guy whose team gets a lot of technical fouls and plays deep in the playoffs. So I’m a little biased.”

Denver coach Mike Malone said the league agreed with the Nuggets’ claim that Poeltl’s play has been questionable, although Malone said he didn’t know why it hasn’t resulted in closer scrutiny from game officials. “I think there have been some illegal screens that have been missed, and the response from the league has been that we’re right,” Malone said after Thursday after the Spurs’ 120-103 win in Game 6. “But for some reason, they don’t catch them during the game. Obviously, Jamal got taken out on that play. I don’t know if it was dirty or not. I don’t think Jakob Poeltl is a dirty player, I really don’t, but I have to watch the film to see how that happened and how Jamal went down with that injury.”

The Spurs eventually pulled away, winning 120-103, to force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Saturday, but Nuggets coach Michael Malone still had questions about the play. “I think there have been some illegal screens that have been missed, and the response from the league (after the Nuggets submitted the plays for review) has been that we’re right,” Malone said. “But for some reason, they don’t catch them during the game. Obviously Jamal got taken out on that play. I don’t know if it was dirty or not.”
1 month ago via ESPN

I’ve talked to people across the league about this issue. Players, coaches, referees, union leadership and the league office. Everyone has their position and their theory. I’ve been told the experience level of the referees has dwindled with a number of veteran retirements or reassignments, and that younger officials have thinner skin and won’t allow a healthy dialogue. And a couple more of the top officials are planning retirement or transfers after this season, by the way.
1 month ago via ESPN

I’ve been told there are more replays and video sharing, and so when referees do make mistakes, the mistakes are magnified. Just as the last-two-minute reports, aka L2Ms, only push officials’ mistakes into a fresh news cycle when nothing can be done about them. And it hurts officials’ reputations. I’ve been told short memories cause issues. For example, the Warriors (and plenty of fans) flipped out during that game in Minnesota because Kevin Durant was called for wrapping up Karl-Anthony Towns as he went to the basket in the final second. Last weekend, the Nets’ Jarrett Allen was wrapped up by the Sixers’ Tobias Harris and it wasn’t called, a mistake acknowledged by the league. The howling was equal for both — everyone wants it both ways.
1 month ago via ESPN

“So the big point of emphasis this year was the wrapping, wrapping the player when he rolls to the rim,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said after Saturday’s game. “Judge for yourself if you watch the clip, but there was a clear wrap by Tobias Harris on the roll. “I am just disappointed. That was a point of emphasis on day one at the coaches’ meetings — that they were going to emphasize that at the beginning of the game, the end of the game and all season. So how that all of a sudden doesn’t become a foul on the wrap, I don’t understand that.”
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May 27, 2019 | 3:33 am EDT Update
This latest edition of “Will Kawhi Leonard Stay In Toronto?” started from a simple, celebratory Instagram Live video from Kawhi’s sister, Miesha Slayton. After the Raptors’ Game 6 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Slayton took to Instagram for a live session. We could see as she was reading off comments from fans from all over the world. But then, a voice in the background shouted, “They know darn well he ain’t gonna be there next year.”
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Free Agency
Slayton would eventually take down the Instagram Live video, which seemingly produced the opposite result she wanted and fueled rumors even more. Without even knowing who the voice belonged to, NBA fans took hold of that anonymous comment as proof that Leonard would leave Toronto after this single season. NBA Twitter seemed to speculate — out of nowhere — that the voice belonged to Leonard’s uncle. But according to Slayton, the voice neither belonged to her uncle nor a member of her family. She posted to Instagram that the voice was just a Raptors hater that she was watching the game with. She told a Raptors Republic contributor that her uncle wasn’t even in California.