Posts Tagged ‘NBA officiating’

Morning shootaround — May 1

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Heat needs Johnson to step up | All about team for Lillard | Raptors face pain, Pacers all gain | Cavs’ Griffin: Expectations, not chemistry, was challenge

No. 1: Heat needs Johnson to step up — As dynamic as Miami’s Dwyane Wade was in Game 6 against the Charlotte Hornets Friday and as durable as he’s been this season, a matinee tipoff time for Game 7 down in South Florida (1 ET, ABC) isn’t the most ideal scenario for the Heat’s 34-year-old leader. That short turnaround time had Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald casting about for the likeliest teammates to step up into a 1-A role Sunday, and after considering the likes of Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Luol Deng and a couple others, Skolnick settled on:

The other guy is Joe Johnson.

The 15-year veteran has had mixed success, with Everest highs and deathly Valleys.
It didn’t start well. He was 5 for 17 for 16 points in the Hawks’ 34-point loss to a much better Boston team in the 2008 first round.

“They killed us,” Johnson said. “But that’s the year they won the championship.”

But then, in 2009, the Hawks and Wade’s Heat went the distance, and Johnson actually had the better finish: He made 10 of 19 shots for 27 points, while also recording five rebounds, four assists and five steals in an easy win.

“That was a pretty good one, because I struggled that whole series,” Johnson said. “And I probably had my best game in that Game 7.”

In 2010, Johnson had just eight points on 4-of-14 shooting in Atlanta’s rout of Milwaukee in Game 7 of the first round. And then, in 2013 against the Deng-less Bulls, he went 2 of 14 and scored just six points in Game 7, as his Nets lost at home by six.

In the first round in 2014, he made plenty of big plays to push the Nets past the Raptors, in a Game 7 on the road: 26 points on 11-of-25 shooting.

“That was probably the most special, because it was on the road, hostile environment,” Johnson said. “And man, down the stretch, we were huge. It was the loudest place I’ve ever played in. I couldn’t [bleeping] hear myself breathe, think or nothing. That was probably the best one.”

No better basketball feeling than ending somebody’s season.

“Knowing that one team has to go home,” Johnson said. “So for us, to have a Game 7 on our home floor, I think we’ll take that.”

The Heat took him in this season, after his buyout from Brooklyn. He’s had a decent series — averaging 11 points while shooting 49 percent from the field, including 47 percent from long range. But Miami needs more than efficiency to advance.

It needs more impact.

The Heat may not get his best Game 7, better than what he gave against Miami in 2009.

But his best performance of the series?

With the start time, this seems the right time for that.

Bonus coverage: He isn’t expected to be in the building Sunday, but here is the Charlotte Observer’s story on “Purple Shirt Guy,” who played such a goofy intrusive role in Game 6.

(more…)

NBA to release officiating reports from close games

HANG TIME BIG CITY — Since taking over as NBA commissioner a little over a year ago, Adam Silver has spoken often of his commitment to increasing transparency between the league and fans. He’s made several moves designed to make more clear the thought process behind the decisions that are made, particularly when officiating has been involved. For instance, flop warnings and point of emphasis memos are now released to the public via an officiating site.

In a new move designed to further heighten transparency, today the NBA announced that beginning next week, they will share what are being called “Last Two Minute” officiating reports, which will break down each officiating decision from the final moments of close games with a play-by-play break down.

According to a press release from the NBA…

“Our fans are passionate and have an intense interest in understanding how the rules are applied,” said Mike Bantom, Executive Vice President of Referee Operations. “NBA referees have the most difficult officiating job in sports, with so many split-second decisions in real time. We trust this consistent disclosure will give fans a greater appreciation of the difficulty of the job and a deeper sense of the correct interpretations of the rules of our game.”

The league will release assessments of officiated events in the last two minutes of games decided in regulation that were within five points at the two-minute mark. Also, the reports will include plays from the last two minutes and overtime of OT games. Each play will be reviewed by a senior referee manager or basketball operations manager who will provide the assessments. Every play on the report will include a video link to that specific play.

The league will post the “Last Two Minute” reports on the NBA.com/Official website by 5:00 p.m. ET the day following each game.

Fans may not agree with every call, but at least now they’ll get an official explanation for each call. Officiating may never be perfect, but it continues moving closer to complete transparency. Which may be as perfect as it will every get.

Delay Of Game Rule Key Point Among Officials’ Points Of Emphasis For 2013-14



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The NBA preseason is more than just a time for teams and players to work out the kinks and fine tune their operations in advance of the new season.

It also serves as a real-time laboratory for the league’s officials, giving them an opportunity to execute whatever changes have been implemented, zero in on the modifications being made to existing rules and to get in the habit of showcasing the new rules for that season.

That’s right, it’s point-of-emphasis time for the 2013-14 season, and everyone — from the rules and competition committee, to the teams, to the players and officials — have all been schooled on the dos and don’ts, courtesy of a step-by-step explanation from members of the NBA’s referee operations staff (as seen here).

There are five major points of emphasis this season:

  • Illegal screens
  • Contact on jump shots
  • Traveling
  • Discontinued dribble
  • Delay of game after a made basket

All will require serious attention from both the players and game officials, who will need to adjust to the new interpretations.

The rule book is clear on what is and is not allowed in each of these instances. That makes it all about the interpretation on the part of the players and officials, per Joe Borgia, the NBA’s Vice President of Referee Operations.

“We’ve made it clear to the players and the officials that this is for both of you,” Borgia said, “We need you to get better at (knowing the rules) and the officials to get better at making the right call when they see you are doing something and doing it wrong. The players will change. They have proven it over and over, a great example is the respect for the game rule that went in place a few years back. We had the NBA Finals last year and didn’t have a technical foul. I don’t know when that’s happened before, or if it has.”

That doesn’t mean it won’t take some getting used to, specifically for players used to setting screens a certain way and not being called for the violation of the new interpretation of the rule. The same is true for players who have made a habit of messing with the ball after a made basket. That said, the referee operations staff is implementing changes based largely on the feedback they received from the teams, which is part of a “smorgasbord” of information Borgia said is used to refine the game on a continual basis.

Illegal screens and traveling garnered the largest volume of mentions from teams, Borgia said.

But the delay of game rule could be the most noticeable change of all, particularly for fans. Messing with the ball in any way after a made basket is supposed to result in a whistle being blown. And despite some chatter that the new interpretation has something to do with some calculated desire to speed up the games, Borgia insisted that is not the case.

“I’ve heard some of the announcers during the preseason saying we’re doing this to speed the game up and that’s just not true,” Borgia said. “We’re doing it because the new offensive team is being deprived of the opportunity to inbound the ball. [The new interpretation] might pick up the pace a little bit, but it has nothing to with making games go faster. It’s simple, don’t mess with the ball after a successful basket.

“And it’s like I said, our players are very smart. They will adjust to these new interpretations. And they will adjust quickly. Officials have to adjust as well. And they will.”