The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

NBA Officials

If there’s anything to bring me back from a long hiatus, it’s a good scandal. Or, in this case, a very bad one.

I’m a little late on this one, so I have no new opinions to share with you. Read these articles. My first thought when I heard the news was, “Heh, that’s not surprising.” Then, like the articles mention, I started wondering who it was. There was no surprise for me. I thought maybe I was just cynical because I played and now semi-coach in a league with poor officials. Surely most NBA fans trusted their officials. After all, they’re the best officials in the world, right?

Maybe not. Maybe I was right in calling the NBA the “most corrupt professional sports league” (in the US anyway) . So what if baseball and football allow their players to cheat? At least of both teams are cheating, neither has an advantage. When the officials cheat, one team gets a clear advantage and the league becomes corrupt. When the officials are bad, one team tends to get an advantage and the league becomes corrupt. I’ve seen high school games decided by the refs before, but I always thought maybe I was imagining that in the NBA some teams could be advantaged by the officials.

Another article to read. I was stunned to find that I never posted anything about Game 3 of the Suns/Spurs series. If I recall correctly, I was actually too ticked off at the time to write anything about it. That article mentions that the worst no-call was not Donaghy’s fault, but it fails to mention that the worst call was made by Donaghy. Remember the foul drawn by Ginobili that was called a couple seconds late by the official in the worst position? I remember complaining loudly (to myself) that someone else should have overruled him on it. There are already a ton of videos on Youtube claiming to be proof that Donaghy bet on some particular game, and most of them are probably crap. This one, however, is worth a look (note, however, that not all the calls were made by Donaghy):

I’m somewhat of a Suns fan myself, so I can guess how they feel about this. They could argue that they were legitimately screwed in Game 5, they were screwed by Nash’s injury in Game 1, and now they can argue that they were screwed in Game 3 as well. A win in any of those games, and the series would have gone to Game 7 in Phoenix. Even if it’s never proven whether he bet on this game, this situation is bad for Phoenix and bad for the NBA. I know I’m going to question the officials every time there’s a questionable game, and now I know I won’t be the only one.

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July 25, 2007 Posted by | NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A couple basketball news stories

From both the NBA and the NCAA:

Study shows racial bias by NBA refs.
NCAA rules committee approves longer 3-point line

Ok, I don’t buy all the talk that the NBA official story is completely illegitimate just because the researchers looked at box scores and not game tapes. They looked at enough box scores that the numbers they’d get would be accurate. If they find that officiating teams of 2 white and 1 black refs call more fouls on black players than teams of 2 black refs and 1 white ref (with teams of three refs of one color being more extreme), that is very likely legitimate.

However, I also don’t think that it is a big deal. The percentage was about 4%. A team of white refs calls 104 fouls on black players for every 100 fouls on white players. That is a difference; but sociological studies have consistently shown that some racial bias seeps into all Americans, with almost every study shows that the percentage of bias is greater than the 4% in this one. I have never noticed racial bias, and there’s always someone to jump on the racism story if there is even a hint of bias but that has never happened. Several players have even come out in defense of the officials since the report came out.

Four percent isn’t big enough to notice or big enough to do anything about. Since no one has noticed it until now, let’s just let it go.

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I think the three-point line lengthening is a great idea. The three-point shot right now is far too easy a shot. Based on point values, shooting 33% from behind the arc is the same as shooting 50% from inside it (10/30 threes = 30 points; 15/30 twos = 30 points). In 2006/07, well over 100 schools shot better than 33% from three-point range in Division I (led by Bradley, I might add). Fifteen teams shot at least 40%, which is comparable to 60% from two-point range.

How many teams, before the three-point line was added, shot 60% from the field? That never happened. Not many individual players even shot 60%, but it only takes a pretty good shooter to hit 40% from three-point range today. This last year, 38 players hit 60% from the field, so there should be about that many hitting 40% from three-point range. Since far more than 38 shoot that well, the three-point shot needs to be made more difficult. If you actually just play the percentages, it would be better to shoot nothing but threes than to shoot nothing but twos.

This move isn’t necessarily about opening up the court like some have claimed; it’s about keeping the game from becoming too easy.

May 3, 2007 Posted by | MVC, NBA, NCAA | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs: April 29

Here’s a few of my thoughts after today:

Mike Tirico summarized Antoine Walker’s entire career in one call: “Walker…tippy-toe triple…is off.” Really though, if he played the way he does now at the beginning of his career, he never would have lasted more than three years. When he was younger, he was a huge match-up problem because he was equally good from three-point range and the block. He actually averaged over 10 rebounds per game his second season in the league.

I giggled like a little girl when Ben Wallace was running away from the foul at the end of the fourth quarter. That was one of the goofiest things I’ve ever seen in an NBA game, and it made me wonder why I’d never seen it before. Teams pass the ball around at the end of games to kill extra time before a foul can be committed, so why doesn’t the bad free throw shooter just run around to avoid the foul? Then I realized that Shaq is the player usually “hacked,” and he can’t outrun anyone.

Baron Davis Celebrates
Me when Baron Davis hit the buzzer beater at halftime. “I think it’s over now.” As it turns out, I was wrong but it didn’t look that way for the first few minutes of the third quarter. I said it again when he got the dunk at the end of the third quarter…and was wrong again. I really thought he’d do it again at the end of regulation, but of course I was wrong again.

Reason X why Northern California is better than Southern California: the basketball fans. Golden State and Sacramento have arguably the two best crowds in the league, and LA fans are notorious for leaving games early. Jack Nicholson and Billy Crystal can be seen courtside at LA games, Jessica Alba can be seen at Golden State games. There’s no competition. I think the crowd influenced the refs in some way because it did seem like the calls were going more in Golden State’s favor most of the two games. Golden State deserved to win both games, but I’m saying they had a little help.

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April 29, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, NBA, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Denver/ San Antonio series

This is my third attempted blog, lets see if it works

How great is this series? First, underdog Denver goes into SA and steals one at home. (side note: Bill Walton = dumbest sports broadcaster of all time) Then San Antonio bounces back and leads game two well into the fourth quarter when back comes Denver and comes to within 3 points with only a couple minutes left. They would have cut it to 1 if Camby hadn’t missed that dunk from the baseline. But they ultimately lost Game 2. Now, here they are back in Denver and in a nearly identical situation as Game 2. They are down until about 5 minutes left and then come storming back. Heres my take.

How awful have the officials been late in this game? Granted they have been terrible in general and are favoring neither team, but still, whats the deal? Heres the problem with these Denver runs. They seem to find ways to score frequently late in games, but this poses an issue. You can score all you want, but if your down 10 and trade baskets, your going nowhere. I know its cliche to say defense wins games, so I’m not gonna say it. But defense caps runs, thats what it does. Defense causes runs. You can not rally late in a game unless you get stops! This is what Denver is failing to do. Giving up Offensive Rebounds, three pointers to Robert Horry, and allowing way to much penetration by Parker and Ginoboli. They are pulling these games close enough that if they could just stop one of those three things, they could cap off another game and take control of this series. Unfortunately, they have not done that late in the game. Will they, who knows? As soon as they do, they’ll win more games.

I hope they do so Evan and I can watch Denver play PHX while we are in Denver, that’ll be cool.

April 28, 2007 Posted by | Denver Nuggets, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs: April 26

A note on my previous blog: I posted it before the Dallas game was over, so I did not realize that Stephen Jackson would also give the league a chance to help a star franchise out. I still say Dallas in 7.

I’m going to go ahead and take a mulligan on my Detroit pick. They have and will continue to beat Orlando easily. I figured they’d be disinterested for at least a couple games instead of getting it over with as soon as possible in order to go home and rest. And I don’t usually talk about what the commentators point out first, but I can’t let this go: Why wouldn’t Orlando play J.J. Redick? They have no shooting on the court and Detroit is making them pay by packing in the defense. The inexperience argument doesn’t work because the rest of Orlando is inexperienced as well. All I know is that what Orlando is doing now isn’t working and they need a change.

What genius at TNT decided it would be a good idea to show the score of the game not being shown once every half hour and only have it on the screen for 5 seconds? That’s reason #247 why college basketball is better than pro basketball. The thing is, I don’t really care because I’m not interested in following the game in case it gets close. As long as I see the final score, I don’t care if I missed the entire game.

Kobe needs to score. That’s my opinion on the over-debated topic of the week. If he doesn’t get 40, they have a 0% chance of winning, and he needs to get 50 to give them a 50% chance. He has 20 at the half tonight, so the Lakers are on pace to have a chance.

April 26, 2007 Posted by | Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, NBA, Orlando Magic | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Championship Tournament: Semifinals

We had a line of thunderstorms roll through the area during the games tonight. Remembering the second round games that we missed for no apparent reason, I was worried that my taping of the Final Four would be interrupted by a power outage. We had some discoloration and heavy static every time lightning struck (My dad totally ignored this fact and tried messing with the antenna, making it horribly worse.), but power never went out either at my house or at the tv station. So why did power go out on a sunny day and not in a big storm? I don’t have an answer for that that doesn’t involve abusive language. I did lose my Internet connection though, which is why this post is coming late… Continue reading

April 1, 2007 Posted by | ACC, Big East, Big Ten, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Championship Tournament: Third Round

Chalk rules this year. The elite eight consists of all four number ones, three number twos, and a number three. Chalk rules and so do brackets picked by those who don’t follow college basketball. I need not say who has the best bracket in my family, but it is not me or my dad. I actually don’t have a bracket anymore.

I burned it. Charcoal lighter, matches, and a bowl of water for safety. It’s now a small black crisp. It’s not that it was in such horrible shape (although it was), it’s that I’m tired of people thinking the bracket matters. I don’t gamble (says the guy who is paying $900 in income tax on poker winnings), so the bracket means nothing to me. When the last two teams in the tournament that I like lost, I just quit caring about who wins and emphasized that fact with fire.

Yeah, all the teams I like are out. That means I now cheer for the teams that will prove me right: UCLA is the best team in the tournament, Ohio State and Greg Oden are weak (they’re trying to prove it; their opponents just aren’t letting them do it…), Florida is not motivated enough to win again, and Kansas is too streaky to advance far. Now on to some comments… Continue reading

March 23, 2007 Posted by | ACC, Big 12, Big East, MVC, MWC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Championship Tournament: Second Round

See? I told you this round would be better than the first. However, though it looked great compared to the first round, the second round was only an average round; we can still do better! The lowest seed left is still only UNLV’s seven, and there were still only five upsets (only two weren’t a 5 over 4). I’m sure you’re expecting exciting summaries of all the great games on Saturday, but sadly I only saw one of them. CBS had electrical trouble at their broadcasting tower and went out halfway through the Butler/Maryland game and stayed out the rest of the night. I’m currently looking into a lawsuit for causing me emotional anguish. I did see all the games on Sunday though and have comments. …

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March 19, 2007 Posted by | ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, Horizon, MVC, MWC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment