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Thread: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Interesting article here.

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/0...s=iref:nbahpts

    NBA offers some ref transparency, playoff ‘points of emphasis’

    Granted, it’s not always satisfying when the NBA issues an officiating verdict the day after a disputed play. Learning 18 hours later that, yes, a foul should have been called on that final missed field-goal attempt in Team A’s 1-point loss doesn’t change the W-L records of the squads involved and rarely calms fans who felt their team got jobbed.

    But transparency beats opacity, even after the fact, so the league regularly has tried to review, interpret and explain its many calls and non-calls ASAP. One way to do that now, with the playoffs approaching and stakes and emotions getting ever higher, is through a follow of @NBAOfficial on Twitter. That account will provide updates and clarifications on rules and fouls in the closest thing to real time, while educating some fans on what does or doesn’t constitute an instant-replay “trigger.”

    The Twitter feed was one of the reminders Thursday to media folks in the league’s 2014 basketball & referee operations WebEx online meeting. A fleet of NBA executives provided updates and answered questions about the season and looming postseason, including “points of emphasis” that will remain high on referees’ radar as the playoffs unfold.

    Participating in the multi-media event: Rod Thorn, president, basketball operations; Mike Bantom, executive vice president, referee operations; Kiki VanDeWeghe, senior vice president, basketball operations; Joe Borgia, vice president, referee operations; and Don Vaden, VP & director of officials.

    One thing fans might notice again this spring is a change that was initiated for the 2013 playoffs: Keeping referees together in the same crew to develop familiarity and continuity in their court coverage.

    Traditionally, three referees come together pretty much randomly to officiate NBA games, compared to MLB umpires, who work most of the season in set four-man crews.
    Vaden said that last spring, the league booked two referees as a tandem for each game, with the third official rotating through. “Ken Mauer and Ed Malloy worked every game together,” Vaden said, offering an example. “We’re more consistent in what we’re doing on the floor when we do that.”

    This used to be standard procedure, Thorn recalled. “There was a time way back when crews were kept together,” he said. “There was a time when the same two referees refereed all the games in The Finals.”

    In addition to the logical benefits of refs working together, Vaden mentioned some secondary ones off the floor in terms of reviews and communication.

    “Keeping the guys together, traveling together, they can review more video of the games,” he said. “They’re easier for me to get a hold of than in the regular season. Even on off-days they’re together in the same hotels, so we can do a review from their last game and give them a preview of the game to come.”

    The review process of referee performance has grown more thorough through the years, with a centralized group of eight reviewers in the office in New Jersey handling most of the heavy lifting. Teams also submit feedback, and the league has made it a priority to keep teams, players, coaches, media and fans in the loop with rulings and updated points of emphasis.

    The selection process to work in, and advance through, the postseason is rigorous, Bantom said. From the regular-season pool of 62 referees, 32 are identified based on performance criteria to work the first round. That gets cut to 20 for the conference semifinals, 16 for the East and West finals and 12 assigned to The Finals. Guidelines in the playoffs include: no back-to-back games for officials, no more than three games worked in a week and, ideally, not reappearing in a series before Game 6 (loosened to Game 5 in The Finals).

    Speaking about the NBA in general in 2013-14, with the transition from David Stern to Adam Silver in the commissioner’s office, VanDeWeghe said: “Our focus has been transparency and inclusion. We want to include more people in our discussions. Improve communications with teams, players, media and fans. We want to share more information and just the processes of what we go through. You can never tell where a great idea comes from, and we’d like to hear from you. This is our game together.”

    The POE this postseason will largely be a continuation of those introduced back in October. Among them, Vaden spoke of:


    • Freedom of movement, including illegal screens.
    • Traveling calls, especially on the perimeter.
    • Point-of-contact plays, before, during and after shot attempts. “We have clarified the rule for teams, that if it affects the natural follow-through, even though the ball was released, we would penalize the defender,” Vaden said. “Hits on the elbow, we’ve gotten better at.”
    • Push or pull plays, physically redirecting an opponent.
    • Delay-of-game calls for handling the ball after it passes through the net. Said Vaden: “Everybody complained, but after about a month of the season, everybody’s running from the ball. The players have done a great job in adapting to this.”
    • Verticality. “It’s easy for us to call ‘A’ to ‘B’ movement,” Vaden said, referring to a defender who goes up in the air but not quite straight up. “As the season went on, we saw more of the defender turning in the air and [confronting the ball handler] with his side.” That’s a defensive foul too. But a scorer who wards off the defender with an arm, leads with a knee or elbow or even “displaces” the man so he cannot rebound can wind up with an offensive foul.


    Borgia reminded participants that the NBA’s system of points and suspensions for flagrant fouls and technical fouls resets for the playoffs. The trigger numbers in the postseason are four points for flagrants, seven for technicals.

    Several execs weighed in on “hand on the ball” interpretations, which came up again Tuesday on the final play of the Brooklyn-Miami game. That’s when LeBron James went up for what could have been a game-winning dunk, only to have the ball knocked loose – and his hand or wrist smacked, James complained – by Nets forward Mason Plumlee.

    Plumlee was credited with a game-saving block and the league’s brass supported that call.

    “Frame by frame, you can see that Plumlee got his hand on the ball before there was any contact hand-to-hand,” Thorn said. “That was basically LeBron’s hand coming forward and interlocking with Plumlee. A very, very close play. Very, very difficult to see. I think the refs did a great job in ascertaining what they did.”

    Borgia attempted to simplify for the online audience what many folks don’t get quite right.
    If they hit a part of my hand or finger that is physically on the ball, that is considered hitting the ball and not a foul,” the referee-turned-supervisor said. “I think there is some misconception out there. … On a jump shot, most of the time the ball is more on your fingertips and not sitting in the palm of your hand. If someone hits the back of the hand, that would be a foul.”

    Transparency, see. It might not alter a critic’s opinion of a call but it can aid in the understanding.
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 04-11-2014 at 09:21 AM.

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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Boy, I hope they do emphasize illegal screens. Teams do that to the Pacers all the time. Since they have too many guys that tend to stick to screens, it really makes a difference in recovery time.

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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    But a scorer who wards off the defender with an arm, leads with a knee or elbow or even “displaces” the man so he cannot rebound can wind up with an offensive foul.
    I really hope they start calling the knee to the groin and elbow to the chest that are forcing Roy to bend forward.
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    I really hope they start calling the knee to the groin and elbow to the chest that are forcing Roy to bend forward.
    Thats the thing that pisses me off the most about the officials and the Verticality. Dude gets sacked or whacked in the stomach, and he gets called for not staying vertical. 90% of those bad calls are from officials not getting in position to see the play.

    however Roy has not done a great job this year resisting the swat down. He wants the blocks to show up in the stat sheet for his DPOY award. So it can be hard to call.
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by xIndyFan View Post
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    Boy, I hope they do emphasize illegal screens. Teams do that to the Pacers all the time. Since they have too many guys that tend to stick to screens, it really makes a difference in recovery time.
    You just watch how many Bosh will get away with tonight. While Roy will get no breaks on that end. Poor Ian will get a couple too.
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    I just wish they would not be affected by a coach getting fined whining about the officials after the previous game. Phil Jackson would strategically do this when his team lost a playoff game and he would then pay the fine. The next game it seemed like his team got the benefit of a lot of whistles (more than they were accustomed to getting).

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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Lance and LeBron both like to lead with their forearm a lot when driving.

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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    I do like the fact that they have started publicizing those info. It will help.
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by xIndyFan View Post
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    Boy, I hope they do emphasize illegal screens. Teams do that to the Pacers all the time. Since they have too many guys that tend to stick to screens, it really makes a difference in recovery time.
    Double thanks for this observation. I have no idea what refs see because I see players moving before and after screening the defender. They may call 10% of them.
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by graphic-er View Post
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    Thats the thing that pisses me off the most about the officials and the Verticality. Dude gets sacked or whacked in the stomach, and he gets called for not staying vertical. 90% of those bad calls are from officials not getting in position to see the play.

    however Roy has not done a great job this year resisting the swat down. He wants the blocks to show up in the stat sheet for his DPOY award. So it can be hard to
    call.

    Against OKC Sunday Westbrook came flying into Roy and and clearly it was an offensive foul. Westbrook gets the loose ball. And then complains. He initiated all the contact.
    I am so glad they do not call fouls against the defender anymore.
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    I wonder how many games until Lebron flops?
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    Default Re: NBA refs points of emphasis heading into the playoffs

    And also, what does exactly "points of emphasis" mean? Does that mean the rules were not emphasized or enforced before?

    Just call the damn game the way it has been called for 82 games. No reason to change things just because they playoffs are starting.

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