I’ve already established that I’m not making the referees an excuse for the Celtics loss. They lost… what’s done is done.
What this is… is a flat out rant… that I pray will somehow, some way, get echoed… or picked up…. or forwarded…. or something…. to someone who can do something about it.
It’s obvious… OBVIOUS… to me that there is a mandate in the NBA to not call fouls this season unless the foul affects the outcome of the play. No, I’ve got no proof… other than history. But I know… I KNOW…. that these officials have been told that when there’s contact in the lane… you don’t blow the whistle unless the contact causes the shot to be missed.
This was blatant in last night’s game… just before halftime.
With 3 seconds left in the half, Rondo drove down the middle of the lane. He rose up… against Dwight Howard no less… to try to dunk the ball. Howard banged into him with 2.1 seconds on the clock. The referee’s whistle went off… with 1.2 seconds on the clock. By that time… Rondo was on the floor, and Glen Davis already had the rebound in his hands.
I know one full second might not sound like much. But say you were standing on a corner… and you saw someone… oh… get punched in the face? You’d probably have an immediate “OOOOOOOOOH” kind of reaction. That’s supposed to be how fast a foul is called. There is contact…. it’s illegal… you blow the whistle. Now… go back to the guy getting punched in the face (for my sake…. pretend it’s me hitting Mark Blount). Clap your hands, count ‘thousand 1′ and then react… does that feel natural to you?
No. Of course not. It’s not a natural reaction. It’s an “I’m waiting for something” reaction. And it’s crap.
By the way. When the whistle blew at 1.2 seconds… the clock stopped at 0.9. So if the NBA tries to sell us a load of BS saying “that’s just his reaction time”… remind whomever is telling that to you… that the timer had a reaction time to the whistle of .3 seconds.
This is a problem in every game I’ve seen this year. It’s a mandate. It has to be.
Think back to last year, when the NBA mandated that reactions to calls would result in technical fouls. Guys were getting techs just for opening their mouths. Not saying anything… just standing there with their mouths open (It happened to Wally Szczerbiak… in one of the first games of the year).
There has to be something… somewhere…
An email… a memo…. a voicemail… something that someone can uncover. This isn’t about this game… or this loss. This is something that’s bugged me all season long (regular readers can attest to this). It’s infuriating… and it violates the spirit of the game.
How many times have basketball analysts said that the other team’s main threat can be neutralized if you get him in foul trouble? It’s elementary basketball strategy. But what if Rajon had made that basket? Then that’s one less foul on Howard… even though the contact is the same. And what about that one point? In a 2 point game… a make and a foul is HUUUUGE.
Part of why you drive to the hoop is to get a call… and potentially a 3 point play. When a ref decides to wait to see if the play will be affected before blowing the whistle, he is changing the game. A foul is a foul…. and denying any team a potential 3 point play could mean the difference between a win and a loss. And in this age of Tim Donaghy… you’d think David Stern would want to make sure there’s no appearance of impropriety when it comes to officiating games.