5 vs 8: Where we discuss the quality (or lack thereof) of NBA Playoff Officiating

PedroKsBambino

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Seeing very different perspectives on officiating and also about how discussion of officiating impacts our great Celtics and NBA analysis threads, I thought it might make sense to focus discussion of the “other” three people on the court in a single thread. So here’s a place to discuss the state of officiating in the NBA and how it does (or does not) impact NBA playoff games.

One resource to always consider: the NBA two-minute reports - https://official.nba.com/2021-22-nba-officiating-last-two-minute-reports/

Whatever else one says about NBA officials—-and I’ve said plenty and hope others will continue to as well—I do give them credit for having those public reviews of close game calls.

Another? NBA referee listings for that day’s games here, so you can get worked up ahead of time if you choose: https://official.nba.com/referee-assignments/

So what do we think about the officiating in Game 3 of Celtics- Bucks, all?
 

Judas Demon

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One resource to always consider: the NBA two-minute reports - https://official.nba.com/2021-22-nba-officiating-last-two-minute-reports/
Whatever else one says about NBA officials—-and I’ve said plenty and hope others will continue to as well—I do give them credit for having those public reviews of close game calls.
Another? NBA referee listings for that day’s games here, so you can get worked up ahead of time if you choose: https://official.nba.com/referee-assignments/
Thanks for this. Any idea how long after a game this usually gets updated? Notice that yesterday’s game isn’t yet available.
 

tbb345

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One thing that I think will be interesting is how the refs respond to Giannis’s cutesy, complete bullshit postgame response to the officiating

“I don’t want to comment, I have to buy diapers”

I am guessing the league and the refs won’t be very pleased that the guy that they’ve bent over backwards to appease is calling them out and implying that they weren’t very good.

My guess is that in Game 4, the whistle on him is much tighter. To the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets fouled out
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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This series reminds of 1990s basketball in that both teams are basically saying, "The refs can't call rhem all." Ref'ng is obviously a thankless task and I definitely think refs anticipate what is going to happen because guys are so big and strong and fast and the margin for error on some of these calls seem as small as nano-seconds.

With regards to the series, yes so far MIL is handling the physicality of it better than BOS but let's not forget that one main reason why BOS beat BRK is how physical BOS was allowed to be. Hopefullt, though, BOS will step up to the physicality and make the refs Irrelevant.
 

Judas Demon

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When the C's lose, it becomes less about the actual basketball played and more a discussion on officiating. It's tiring. You are allowed to discuss it all you want, it's a message board. Just like I'm allowed to say the C's lost and it had nothing to do with the refs and that the constant complaining of umpires/refs is tiring/old hat and entirely expected.
Figured I might as well respond to this here, if only to prevent those who hate the ref-blaming from quitting the forum en masse..
I guess I’m just not sure why complaining about the refs is treated like a moral failing by some on this board. Officiating in the NBA, for better or worse, is one of the great luck factors of pro sports. I mean, is it somehow wrong to mention that JD missed a game tying home run today because the wind was blowing in? Similarly it mystifies me that those that dismiss criticisms of the refs, simultaneously imply that their views are more pure-minded, while throwing out extreme statements like “the Cs lost and it had nothing to do with the refs”. Not sure I’ve ever seen a close game in the NBA whose result had nothing to do with the refs, and game 3 of this series was certainly not an exception.
 

tbb345

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This series reminds of 1990s basketball in that both teams are basically saying, "The refs can't call rhem all." Ref'ng is obviously a thankless task and I definitely think refs anticipate what is going to happen because guys are so big and strong and fast and the margin for error on some of these calls seem as small as nano-seconds.

With regards to the series, yes so far MIL is handling the physicality of it better than BOS but let's not forget that one main reason why BOS beat BRK is how physical BOS was allowed to be. Hopefullt, though, BOS will step up to the physicality and make the refs Irrelevant.
I’ve seen this a lot and I mostly agree but I think it’s missing a major component.

A lot of people (media and fans) are complaining about the officiating in regards to Giannis specifically.

to me, that’s the biggest issue
 

CoffeeNerdness

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One thing that I think will be interesting is how the refs respond to Giannis’s cutesy, complete bullshit postgame response to the officiating

“I don’t want to comment, I have to buy diapers”

I am guessing the league and the refs won’t be very pleased that the guy that they’ve bent over backwards to appease is calling them out and implying that they weren’t very good.

My guess is that in Game 4, the whistle on him is much tighter. To the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets fouled out
I'm guessing that those comments will absolutely work in his favor and he'll be able to run even more people over tomorrow night.
 

SteveF

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Going by the rate of missed called in the two minute reports, there are about 36 incorrect calls/non-calls in a basketball game. In any close game, assuming errors are randomly distributed, there's an ~87% chance one team is advantaged by at least 2 calls. Now maybe that was the team that lost anyway. Maybe it isn't. The reality is that in any close game, there's a possibility that officiating errors changed the outcome.

I don't think there's a fix for this. I think the refs do about as good a job officiating as it's possible to do, and everyone just needs to accept that officiating errors alter the outcomes of some games, some playoff series, and some NBA championships.

That said, there's no way for you or I to know in any particular game whether that's the case. Some errors we notice, and some we don't. Without an actual public accounting we can never know either way. And even if there were a public accounting, there's no way to improve the situation. The game is impossible to officiate without making large numbers of mistakes that could be impacting the outcome.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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Going by the rate of missed called in the two minute reports, there are about 36 incorrect calls/non-calls in a basketball game. In any close game, assuming errors are randomly distributed, there's an ~87% chance one team is advantaged by at least 2 calls. Now maybe that was the team that won anyway. Maybe it isn't. The reality is that in any close game, there's a possibility that officiating errors changed the outcome.

I don't think there's a fix for this. I think the refs do about as good a job officiating as it's possible to do, and everyone just needs to accept that officiating errors alter the outcomes of some games, some playoff series, and some NBA championships.

That said, there's no way for you or I to know in any particular game whether that's the case. Some errors we notice, and some we don't. Without an actual public accounting we can never know either way. And even if there were a public accounting, there's no way to improve the situation. The game is impossible to officiate without making large numbers of mistakes that could be impacting the outcome.
Great post. If you’re a fan and cannot watch your team with some level of rationality you are going to lose your mind and tell all your friends how great the game used to be in the 80’s.
 

fairlee76

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Going by the rate of missed called in the two minute reports, there are about 36 incorrect calls/non-calls in a basketball game. In any close game, assuming errors are randomly distributed, there's an ~87% chance one team is advantaged by at least 2 calls. Now maybe that was the team that lost anyway. Maybe it isn't. The reality is that in any close game, there's a possibility that officiating errors changed the outcome.

I don't think there's a fix for this. I think the refs do about as good a job officiating as it's possible to do, and everyone just needs to accept that officiating errors alter the outcomes of some games, some playoff series, and some NBA championships.

That said, there's no way for you or I to know in any particular game whether that's the case. Some errors we notice, and some we don't. Without an actual public accounting we can never know either way. And even if there were a public accounting, there's no way to improve the situation. The game is impossible to officiate without making large numbers of mistakes that could be impacting the outcome.
Seconded on this being a great post.

While I do think Giannis gets away with a lot, I don’t see that as the difference yesterday. Three Celtics had good offensive games. Tatum was terrible. That’s why they lost.
 

Ed Hillel

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Here it is. We were right, that was 5 seconds on the Bucks’s second to last possession.

Also, they claim Jrue didn’t push Tatum and Portis hitting Marcus in the face, which called him to lose his balance and fall over, was “marginal contact.”
View: https://twitter.com/keithsmithnba/status/1523416672459116544?s=21&t=BGA0R-BxEUOhMaOBzCjIDw

But the Celtics still should have overcome and won. Not sure why Brown crossed over on that layup with 37 seconds left, he had an easy lefty lay in.
 

Cellar-Door

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Here it is. We were right, that was 5 seconds on the Bucks’s second to last possession.

Also, they claim Jrue didn’t push Tatum and Portis hitting Marcus in the face, which called him to lose his balance and fall over, was “marginal contact.”
View: https://twitter.com/keithsmithnba/status/1523416672459116544?s=21&t=BGA0R-BxEUOhMaOBzCjIDw

But the Celtics still should have overcome and won. Not sure why Brown crossed over on that layup with 37 seconds left, he had an easy lefty lay in.
I actually kind of understand the Jrue offensive foul call... which is they claim that he tripped him, which isn't a foul. I disagree in that I think he tripped him but then extended the arm which ensured he fell.

Doubling down on the "not shooting" is terrible to me, he's clearly in the act.

Also notable... even with some of the key ones shaded heavily towards supporting the refs... 5 admitted bad calls in under 2 minutes? Attrocious.
 

allstonite

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The Giannis stuff is awful and I think they get it wrong a lot of the time but that’s typical reffing in the NBA. I lived through those playoff series vs Lebron. It is impossible to ref guys like that and have both sides satisfied. I hate what those guys get away with but Ive accepted it

The Smart non-shooting call is on another level. That’s an insult to everyone who has ever watched a basketball game and can do basic arithmetic. He was shooting a 3 there and the fact they double down on it is ridiculous.
 

Saints Rest

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Going by the rate of missed called in the two minute reports, there are about 36 incorrect calls/non-calls in a basketball game. In any close game, assuming errors are randomly distributed, there's an ~87% chance one team is advantaged by at least 2 calls. Now maybe that was the team that lost anyway. Maybe it isn't. The reality is that in any close game, there's a possibility that officiating errors changed the outcome.

I don't think there's a fix for this. I think the refs do about as good a job officiating as it's possible to do, and everyone just needs to accept that officiating errors alter the outcomes of some games, some playoff series, and some NBA championships.

That said, there's no way for you or I to know in any particular game whether that's the case. Some errors we notice, and some we don't. Without an actual public accounting we can never know either way. And even if there were a public accounting, there's no way to improve the situation. The game is impossible to officiate without making large numbers of mistakes that could be impacting the outcome.
I will likely go to my grave believing that the solution for improving the referee/umpire situation in any sport, while avoiding the delays caused by most of the current replay/challenge situations, is to add a ref in the booth to every game (basically like VAR in soccer). That ref is the sole decider of changing calls. He/she must make all decisions in real time, with the help of one replay (not super-slow-mo, not stop-motion). The goal being to eliminate the obvious missed calls that often might seem like gross incompetence when in fact, they likely are missing the calls due to being blocked or looking in another direction.
 

Cellar-Door

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The Giannis stuff is awful and I think they get it wrong a lot of the time but that’s typical reffing in the NBA. I lived through those playoff series vs Lebron. It is impossible to ref guys like that and have both sides satisfied. I hate what those guys get away with but Ive accepted it

The Smart non-shooting call is on another level. That’s an insult to everyone who has ever watched a basketball game and can do basic arithmetic. He was shooting a 3 there and the fact they double down on it is ridiculous.
Yeah the Smart one makes no sense because it only works if you believe that the shooting motion starts with the ball moving up... if that's the case 99% of shooting fouls in the NBA are being called wrong.
 

PedroKsBambino

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the Smart thing not being cleaned up by league afterwards is unfortunate—twitter ex players and commentators are nearly unanimous it was a shot and it simply undermines the product to be dishonest about it to try and save face.
 

BaseballJones

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the Smart thing not being cleaned up by league afterwards is unfortunate—twitter ex players and commentators are nearly unanimous it was a shot and it simply undermines the product to be dishonest about it to try and save face.
Well, and it's admitting that the refs have no clue about context. Time and score absolutely demanded the refs default to a "he's shooting" decision unless shown otherwise. I mean, the only thing Smart really could do there is shoot, given that they were down 3 with 4 seconds left in the game.
 

Ed Hillel

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NGL, kudos for somehow finding a way to point the finger at Brown here.
I mean I guess? It was one of the videos in the 2 minute report, so I looked at it and it just seemed like a weird decision to move the ball into Giannis when the backboard was there for an easy lay in. The larger point is they should have won, they were up 1 and had, really, 4-5 possessions to the Bucks’s 2 in the last minute or so. Refs didn’t help, and Jrue got a lucky bounce, but that was there for the taking regardless. You wanna win a championship, you gotta find a way to win there.

Obviously if you’re picking a goat yesterday, it’s Tatum, not Brown.
 

benhogan

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Last year I was talking to one of the dads at my kids school who works with an NFL Official/Ref (medical supply sales). Besides saying that the Ref was gone for 20 weekends a year and it did a number on his marriage. The NFL Official said that the game is like a reality TV show and ratings trump all (I imagine it's similar in the NBA)

The League dictates how they want games officiated and make no mistake the NBA is a for-profit endeavor.

Also playoff and regular-season games are called differently, which may be annoying to many of the hard-core fans that watch games closely all season.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Also playoff and regular-season games are called differently, which may be annoying to many of the hard-core fans that watch games closely all season.
Part of the reason is that playoff games and regular season games are also played much differently as well.
 

JCizzle

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Yep.
I mean this bitching about refs is silly, if we want to point fingers it was 100% on Tatum's gawd awful game
I still don't understand why both things can't be true. The officiating was garbage. Tatum was garbage. I mean heck, Tatum hits another FG and we head to OT if the refs appropriately call a clear goaltend and we kill both birds with one stone. :cool:
 

Toe Nash

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I said this in the other thread but I'll repeat it: I understand a Giannis / LeBron type guy who is driving with so much force is tough to officiate, but what I would think the refs would want to avoid above all is players getting hurt, and sometimes it feels like Giannis is on the edge of doing so by plowing into guys (while it feels / felt less so with LeBron). Part of that is he is taller than LeBron and most of the defenders, so his shoulders and elbows are up near most guy's heads, but I also feel like he is more reckless. I think he should be discouraged from using his body as a weapon not just because it gives him an unfair advantage but to protect the well-being of guys. Maybe I'm overreacting but in a league that reviews plays with head contact and calls flagrants if warranted (which I agree with) it seems like that contact could be stopped in the first place if Giannis was called a little tighter. He'd still be a great player and maybe even better if he was forced to be more agile in the post.

Other than players like that who kind of break the game, my only other general complaint about the refs is the review system, either someone needs to be in the booth making calls like suggested upthread, or there needs to be more than one challenge allowed, or something. But I suspect they will make things better as time goes on since replay in general is pretty new.
 

Five Cent Head

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They can, but the game was perfectly winnable. The NBA got what they wanted, a game decided in the last 2 minutes
If the officiating is garbage and favors one team, then that cuts down on the margin of error for the disfavored team. They can still win, and people can argue that in this case they should have, but the task is perhaps harder than it would have been if the officiating were better.
 

Red Averages

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The League dictates how they want games officiated and make no mistake the NBA is a for-profit endeavor.
Yep.
I mean this bitching about refs is silly, if we want to point fingers it was 100% on Tatum's gawd awful game
A little confused at the two posts back to back. Either the league dictates what they want or the complaining is silly. Seems like you can’t have both.
 

bankshot1

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The NBA admitted to at least 5 incorrect calls in the last 2 minutes in yesterday's game. That's an average of 1 bad call every 24 seconds, or in other words, 1 bad call every possession. Really? In no world should that be acceptable. This was in crunch time of a one possession play-off game. Players, coaches, and fans have a very good reason to be critical of NBA officiating. And the NBA just corroborated those criticisms.
 

chilidawg

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The NBA admitted to at least 5 incorrect calls in the last 2 minutes in yesterday's game. That's an average of 1 bad call every 24 seconds, or in other words, 1 bad call every possession. Really? In no world should that be acceptable. This was in crunch time of a one possession play-off game. Players, coaches, and fans have a very good reason to be critical of NBA officiating. And the NBA just corroborated those criticisms.
And that didn't include the most egregious bad call.
 

benhogan

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A little confused at the two posts back to back. Either the league dictates what they want or the complaining is silly. Seems like you can’t have both.
The NBA wants close games, and they are officiated that way. It's always been like that. The C's had their chance to win it and missed some open shots. Milwaukee didn't. The Celtic's best player had a bad game, Milwaukee's didn't.

The Celtics took the last 16 Free Throws, you don't think Buck fans feel like they didn't get the whistle at home?

I hated a bunch of calls that went against the Celtics, but I'm biased. I looked at the last 2-minute report and it appears like some calls went for/against the Celtics. Both sides are probably not thrilled with the refs.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The NBA wants close games, and they are officiated that way. It's always been like that. The C's had their chance to win it and missed some open shots. Milwaukee didn't. The Celtic's best player had a bad game, Milwaukee's didn't.

The Celtics took the last 16 Free Throws, you don't think Buck fans feel like they didn't get the whistle at home?

I hated a bunch of calls that went against the Celtics, but I'm biased. I looked at the last 2-minute report and it appears like some calls went for/against the Celtics. Both sides are probably not thrilled with the refs.
It was the entire 4Q for the Bucks though and I’m a Celtics fan who bet the Celtics in this game. They were aggressive and still weren’t even in the bonus at the end of the game so that Smart couldn’t even make the FT then foul.

Bucks fans on Twitter, Giannis in his presser and now the GM among a few have been vocal on this…..

https://theathletic.com/news/bucks-celtics-game-3-officiating/AE28UiaC9hf3/?amp=1
 
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Eddie Jurak

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The NBA wants close games, and they are officiated that way. It's always been like that. The C's had their chance to win it and missed some open shots. Milwaukee didn't. The Celtic's best player had a bad game, Milwaukee's didn't.

The Celtics took the last 16 Free Throws, you don't think Buck fans feel like they didn't get the whistle at home?

I hated a bunch of calls that went against the Celtics, but I'm biased. I looked at the last 2-minute report and it appears like some calls went for/against the Celtics. Both sides are probably not thrilled with the refs.
The most convincing argument I've heard that the refs were fair is this: they weren't calling Giannis for charges but they let the Celtics defend him physically and it all evened out. I don't know. Maybe.
 

128

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From The Athletic:

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Boston Celtics 103-101 in Game 3, and Bucks general manager Jon Horst wasn't pleased with the officiating. The organization’s opinion became solidified once they were able to review the statistics and also review the game tape of what was one of the more physical playoff games in recent memory.

“When you start looking at the numbers, I mean, it’s just, it’s pretty outrageous,” Horst said to The Athletic's Eric Nehm. “And I think our players and Boston’s players just deserve to have it be addressed and have it be looked at and to just have some improvement.”

Horst wasn't impressed with the discrepancy in free-throw attempts — 34 for Boston, 17 for Milwaukee — and the Celtics attempting 17 free throws in the final 16 minutes, 33 seconds of the game (11 times in the fourth quarter), while the Bucks did not attempt a single free throw during that same time period.

“I mean, 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," Horst said. "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.”
 

PedroKsBambino

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It was the entire 4Q for the Bucks though and I’m a Celtics fan who bet the Celtics in this game. They were aggressive and still weren’t even in the bonus at the end of the game so that Smart couldn’t even make the FT then foul.

Bucks fans on Twitter, Giannis in his presser and now the GM among a few have been vocal on this…..

https://theathletic.com/news/bucks-celtics-game-3-officiating/AE28UiaC9hf3/?amp=1
One has to decide whether the standard we're aiming for is "are both sides are unhappy" or "did we get the calls right" though. I understand there's subjectivity involved and my stance has always been that the goal is the latter; you are arguing the former shows it was "even" or at least "fair". I respect how you'd get there, I just don't agree that's the right way to assess officiating. It is also not a very fun way to approach discussion and analysis! To show why, ask yourself this: would you like a post-game debrief that said every game "team A could have won if they didn't miss as many shots...Team B could have won if they played better defense?" Those things are true, but they are insufficiently specific to matter analytically when looking at a game.

I also understand people who actively play or coach---and those around here who actively played or coached---need the mentality of "how could we have overcome it" and if anything, I wish Celts players had more of that view during the game. But it is to me silly to pretend the officiating cannot matter in any given game, and once you say that is true constantly repeating (as some have, though not the above quote to be clear) "they could have won anyway" doesn't add anything---it's true, but it doesn't change that if the officiating were different the outcome also would have been, and so trying to figure out the balance of calls feels additive to me.

As to what Bud and Horst are saying, for sure Milwaukee is working the officials publicly. I don't take that all at face value, and I would think most of us recognize that is part of what is going on. I believe Celtics should do more of that than they have. The fact teams do this is why I believe we should be pushing the league to get it right, not just try to make both teams equally unhappy. So, I understand the free throw disparity and having watched the games---and thousands of games prior--what I'd say is that Milwaukee is significantly more physical at both ends and even wtih a significant foul disparity not being called for enough on the merits.

The other part of the discussion is for me about leverage and impact. On average, media focuses on the "biggest" calls, which typically are high-leverage calls late in games. The Smart call at the end was very clearly a huge blown call. I do think zooming back is important---that Smart call was only critical because of a couple dozen other calls earlier in the game. So I respect Milwaukee saying "look at overall fouls/free throws" and also Celts fans noting that an officiated-by-the-book GA would have topped out at 25 minutes played. And what I personally find interesting is digging into the relative accuracy of each of those conclusions to test them, rather than just saying "both are unhappy, must be fair"
 

jose melendez

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NBA officiating is bad, but I'm not even sure it's possible to officiate the game well. Moreover, even it the officiating improves dramatically, people will still be pissed. That said, I think the the VAR idea above is, I think, a very good one.

What gets me, however, is that the Donaghy think was so clearly covered up and not dealt with in an honest manner. Stern sabotaged a federal investigation, Donaghy's possible co-conspirator Scott Foster continues to work, and we never really learned why so many refs came out of delco, PA.

I don't have confidence because the league hasn't inspired confidence.
 

lexrageorge

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I did read somewhere that NBA officials are given points of emphasis to look for during a game, especially playoff games. NFL/NHL work the same. The NBA's ugly legacy is that you did have corrupt officials like Dick Bavetta that thought their role was to try to extend a series; whether Bavetta was serving league interests or gambling interests is still an open question. However, he and the rest of his cohort are thankfully retired, and with the extended use of replay and public post-game commentary, the league has been able to put that issue to bed at least.

I assume both teams are working the league privately, pointing out plays that they believe were called incorrectly in an attempt to direct the league to make specific items a point of emphasis for Game 4 and beyond. I do agree that both teams being unhappy is not equivalent to a well officiated game. Blown calls on both sides just lead to a bad experience for players, coaches, and the fans. The reason to point out the general unhappiness with the officiating is to debunk any claims that poor officiating was the key cause of the Celtics loss; it wasn't, and Ime is right to get his players to focus on the things they can control.
 

tbb345

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It was the entire 4Q for the Bucks though and I’m a Celtics fan who bet the Celtics in this game. They were aggressive and still weren’t even in the bonus at the end of the game so that Smart couldn’t even make the FT then foul.

Bucks fans on Twitter, Giannis in his presser and now the GM among a few have been vocal on this…..

https://theathletic.com/news/bucks-celtics-game-3-officiating/AE28UiaC9hf3/?amp=1
I think the argument you’re making is that everyone complains about the refs so what are you going to do.

But, I will say that doesn’t this kind of help out the people complaining that the officiating was worse for the Celtics? Of course, every teams fan base bitches about the refs. No doubt about that.

however, it’s more than just the fans questioning the officiating and saying it was in favor for the Bucks from this last game. Mike Wilbon had a tweet about it, same with John Hollinger. Tim Legler tweeted something about it. That’s definitely not normal (especially for Wilbon, who normally doesn’t criticize the league and is definitely not a Celtics fan).

The fans and the Bucks GM I can understand complaining. Giannis I have no fucking idea what he could possibly be complaining about. He gets every possible benefit of the doubt every game
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The other part of the discussion is for me about leverage and impact. On average, media focuses on the "biggest" calls, which typically are high-leverage calls late in games. The Smart call at the end was very clearly a huge blown call. I do think zooming back is important---that Smart call was only critical because of a couple dozen other calls earlier in the game. So I respect Milwaukee saying "look at overall fouls/free throws" and also Celts fans noting that an officiated-by-the-book GA would have topped out at 25 minutes played. And what I personally find interesting is digging into the relative accuracy of each of those conclusions to test them, rather than just saying "both are unhappy, must be fair"
I think there's a super interesting conversation to be had about how to ref Giannis. I mean every great offensive player creates space with his shoulder or bicep or arm - and it's a foul when the arm gets extended - but Giannis is so powerful he doesn't have to extend his arm to basically have the same effect on players. How should that be officiated - and, maybe more importantly - how does this translate to other players? I personally have no idea but I know that Giannis has figured out what he's been allowed to do for all of these years and takes advantage of it, just like we would want him to do if he were on the Cs.

It's an interesting conversation though.

But as for the rest - the goaltending, the 5 seconds call that wasn't called (and I don't think anyone mentioned it), the push-offs - to me, that's not as interesting. There were 19 calls reviewed in last 2 minute report. There are probably more occurring off ball. The refs got those at an approximately 80% accuracy rate. That's probably lower than the NBA would like but what do we think a reasonable accuracy rate would be for humans? 90%? 95%? Even assuming that most minutes in a game are not as intense as the last two minutes, there are still hundreds of calls to make and refs will miss dozens.

I can't imagine ref'ng NBA basketball. There is a series of physical contact on virtually every play. There is literally no way a human being can figure out whether a person has "set their position" before another player has begun his shooting motion. I think most of the calls are made based on estimations of what should happen given the refs prior experiences with players. And amazingly, most of the time they get it right.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
15,350
Santa Monica
I do think overall sports officiating is getting better and will improve with tech/HD/AI advances. For example, we'll eventually get strike zone robots in MLB (if the fans demand it).

I always hold tennis out as the shining example for officiating changes/embracing technology. It's one of the more uptight sports and the fans demanded the player antics/constant complaining about line calls be addressed (funny enough John McEnroe made whining a cottage industry that he still gets paid for).

Tennis adopted HD camera/tech (Hawk-Eye) to address line calls to the point where when a Player challenges a call the fans clap, get engaged and enjoy the HD/slow motion/up-close shot of the ball VS. the line (article attached)

The NBA needs to add more HD cameras, faster tech and better AI to quickly access calls. Having a few floor refs go look at a screen and call Secaucus, NJ is deliberately antiquated IMHO. It does feel like the NBA (and the NFL/MLB) & Officials Unions want control over the product so they have added time delays to reviews. As fans of these sports, we should embrace and push for more technology to get a fairly officiated game.

https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/gets-the-call-right-every-time-how-tennis-went-electronic
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
27,037
I do think overall sports officiating is getting better and will improve with tech/HD/AI advances. For example, we'll eventually get strike zone robots in MLB (if the fans demand it).

I always hold tennis out as the shining example for officiating changes/embracing technology. It's one of the more uptight sports and the fans demanded the player antics/constant complaining about line calls be addressed (funny enough John McEnroe made whining a cottage industry that he still gets paid for).

Tennis adopted HD camera/tech (Hawk-Eye) to address line calls to the point where when a Player challenges a call the fans clap, get engaged and enjoy the HD/slow motion/up-close shot of the ball VS. the line (article attached)

The NBA needs to add more HD cameras, faster tech and better AI to quickly access calls. Having a few floor refs go look at a screen and call Secaucus, NJ is deliberately antiquated IMHO. It does feel like the NBA (and the NFL/MLB) & Officials Unions want control over the product so they have added time delays to reviews. As fans of these sports, we should embrace and push for more technology to get a fairly officiated game.

https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/gets-the-call-right-every-time-how-tennis-went-electronic
If and when AI can start calling NBA games accurately, I suspect the game at that time is being played by cyborgs, not puny humans.
 

JakeRae

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Jul 21, 2005
7,422
New York, NY
We need to either cut review or embrace it. Challenges should roll forward if successful. There should be no calculus on whether you should “waste” a challenge on an early bad call. If we let coaches challenge calls, let them keep going so long as they are right. That should also reduce challenges of borderline calls except very late in games as the consequence of being wrong become much greater. It would also shut up fan whining a lot more because the league is no longer fully responsible for egregious mistakes. I would be ok with additional challenges where a loss results in a severe consequence like 2 FT to the other side. The ability to challenge should never be gone, but there should be consequences if you challenge and lose. The current system gets that wrong too because you are burning a timeout, but timeouts don’t matter that much, especially since you can just shift usage to reserve one for a challenge.


The current system of challenges is terrible in terms of its emotional impact on fans. It encourages fans to think of every close call from a challenge or not perspective that encourages skepticism but so strictly limits use of challenges that those calls usually aren’t reviewed and where fans don’t know if the reason they aren’t reviewed is strategic of because the coach of their team decided the call wasn’t egregiously wrong.

Separate from this, a missed goaltend should be reviewable the same way the 2/3 point shot is. There’s no reason not to review during down time and put those points on the scoreboard where they belong (or off if offensive). You’d just need an accompanying rule that if the possession continues and leads to a score, you cannot get credited additional points even if there was a blown goaltending call.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
25,105
The most convincing argument I've heard that the refs were fair is this: they weren't calling Giannis for charges but they let the Celtics defend him physically and it all evened out. I don't know. Maybe.
They definitely allowed us to defend Giannis physically which was the motivation for his and his GM’s public comments. To me, this is a controlled decision on how to handle him…..but much different than the blown goaltend call, missed Smart 3-shot foul, etc. Such a different dynamic where both teams had gripes but the Celtics were simply on missed calls whereas the officials allowed us to manhandle Giannis.
 

Just a bit outside

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Apr 6, 2011
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I’m not sure we are manhandling Giannis anymore than Holiday and Matthews are manhandling our guys. They have their hands on Tatum as soon as he moves. If they are going to call us on Giannis than those guys should have fouls on every possession. They are using their strength like the Legion of Doom used to do for the Seahawks.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Apr 17, 2003
28,196
They definitely allowed us to defend Giannis physically which was the motivation for his and his GM’s public comments. To me, this is a controlled decision on how to handle him…..but much different than the blown goaltend call, missed Smart 3-shot foul, etc. Such a different dynamic where both teams had gripes but the Celtics were simply on missed calls whereas the officials allowed us to manhandle Giannis.
To my eyes, though, GA was much more physical himself so there's a chicken-and-egg question to it. I agree Celts were physical with him---but he was at least equally so with them (which, as we all know, was shown very clearly in four or so replays which were inarguably fouls on GA). So could they have called even more fouls on Cs---beyond top two defenders having 4 and 5 fouls---certainly. Would that equalize letting GA commit half dozen offensive fouls? I tend to think not, but it's a question. It's not accurate to describe that as one-way, however.

WBCD's question underlies this: what do you do as a defense and officating crew? Shaq had the raw power and force that GA does, but it was more stationary. I can't think of someone with GA's size who played with the violence of motion he does. I don't think letting him crash into guys is reasonable; I also get that he takes a lot of contact from defenders. Not sure what the answer is.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
15,350
Santa Monica
If and when AI can start calling NBA games accurately, I suspect the game at that time is being played by cyborgs, not puny humans.
Ha, we have self-driving cars that have a zillion more permutations than the basketball court. If the NBA put a charge or block in exact terms the technology is already there
 

jezza1918

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Jul 19, 2005
1,275
South Dartmouth, MA
I’m not sure we are manhandling Giannis anymore than Holiday and Matthews are manhandling our guys. They have their hands on Tatum as soon as he moves. If they are going to call us on Giannis than those guys should have fouls on every possession. They are using their strength like the Legion of Doom used to do for the Seahawks.
Agree with this. And those fouls (called or not called), on both sides, are within normal realm of basketball IMO. But the two dangerous Giannis plays (hit to Tatum's head running at full speed and locking up Grant's wrist and yanking) are not normal...and neither of those were called properly.
We need to either cut review or embrace it. Challenges should roll forward if successful. There should be no calculus on whether you should “waste” a challenge on an early bad call. If we let coaches challenge calls, let them keep going so long as they are right. That should also reduce challenges of borderline calls except very late in games as the consequence of being wrong become much greater. It would also shut up fan whining a lot more because the league is no longer fully responsible for egregious mistakes. I would be ok with additional challenges where a loss results in a severe consequence like 2 FT to the other side. The ability to challenge should never be gone, but there should be consequences if you challenge and lose. The current system gets that wrong too because you are burning a timeout, but timeouts don’t matter that much, especially since you can just shift usage to reserve one for a challenge.


The current system of challenges is terrible in terms of its emotional impact on fans. It encourages fans to think of every close call from a challenge or not perspective that encourages skepticism but so strictly limits use of challenges that those calls usually aren’t reviewed and where fans don’t know if the reason they aren’t reviewed is strategic of because the coach of their team decided the call wasn’t egregiously wrong.

Separate from this, a missed goaltend should be reviewable the same way the 2/3 point shot is. There’s no reason not to review during down time and put those points on the scoreboard where they belong (or off if offensive). You’d just need an accompanying rule that if the possession continues and leads to a score, you cannot get credited additional points even if there was a blown goaltending call.
It's insane to me that the bolded point isn't a rule. I've been trying to think of reasons why they don't do this and can't come up with any.
 

bankshot1

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Feb 12, 2003
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I don't think technology can or should overide well-trained professional refs using experience and judgement. Robot umps calling balls and strikes and in/out tennis calls are pretty simple tech problems, monitoring 10 players and assessing degrees of compliance with rules are wholly different,
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
25,105
To my eyes, though, GA was much more physical himself so there's a chicken-and-egg question to it. I agree Celts were physical with him---but he was at least equally so with them (which, as we all know, was shown very clearly in four or so replays which were inarguably fouls on GA). So could they have called even more fouls on Cs---beyond top two defenders having 4 and 5 fouls---certainly. Would that equalize letting GA commit half dozen offensive fouls? I tend to think not, but it's a question. It's not accurate to describe that as one-way, however.

WBCD's question underlies this: what do you do as a defense and officating crew? Shaq had the raw power and force that GA does, but it was more stationary. I can't think of someone with GA's size who played with the violence of motion he does. I don't think letting him crash into guys is reasonable; I also get that he takes a lot of contact from defenders. Not sure what the answer is.
There is no answer. You cannot tell Giannis to play less aggressive or less powerful without changing the rules of the game. You can’t call charges on plays when the defender is in effective guarding position and rarely can one be with his combination of raw strength and dexterity. Maybe more no-calls but that’s what happened last game on many possessions. Tatum could have fouled out only on this matchup alone on Saturday.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
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Dec 12, 2002
37,892
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They definitely allowed us to defend Giannis physically which was the motivation for his and his GM’s public comments. To me, this is a controlled decision on how to handle him…..but much different than the blown goaltend call, missed Smart 3-shot foul, etc. Such a different dynamic where both teams had gripes but the Celtics were simply on missed calls whereas the officials allowed us to manhandle Giannis.
To my eyes, though, GA was much more physical himself so there's a chicken-and-egg question to it. I agree Celts were physical with him---but he was at least equally so with them (which, as we all know, was shown very clearly in four or so replays which were inarguably fouls on GA). So could they have called even more fouls on Cs---beyond top two defenders having 4 and 5 fouls---certainly. Would that equalize letting GA commit half dozen offensive fouls? I tend to think not, but it's a question. It's not accurate to describe that as one-way, however.
I think the best case to be made for the officials is that these were 2 sides of the same coin. They didn't restrain Giannis, and they didn't restrain the Celtics defending Giannis.