Sunday, April 22, 2007

Those Wily Refs

Have you ever watched an NBA playoff game where you felt like the refs were controlling the game in one team's (usually the home team) favor, yet you couldn't quite put your finger on how? I will solve the mystery for you: non-shooting fouls.

It is the oldest trick in the book and NBA refs do it all the time. When the home team is struggling to stay in the game, as San Antonio was against Denver tonight, the refs will come out early in the second quarter calling a series of questionable little holds, grabs, and blocks ... all non-shooting fouls that largely go unnoticed by players and fans alike. Nobody really complains, because it doesn't seem like a big deal at the time. Just watch NBA players when they get whistled for non-shooting fouls; they almost never care. But when they get called for a shooting foul, they act like someone just robbed their house. So the refs go whistle-crazy with these innocuous calls, which quietly gets the team into the bonus very early.

Tonight I watched this whole thing play out like clockwork in San Antonio as the Spurs fell behind early, got a bunch of cheap calls, and when they were down 32-24 at the 6:13 mark, lo and behold, they were already in the bonus. Amazing! The Nuggets, meanwhile, didn't get to the bonus until 1:00 to go in the first half. In this case, it didn't make a huge difference, as the Spurs only got two Robert "Old Man River" Horry freebies out of all this, but that doesn't change how it all went down.

Shady business, folks.

1 comment:

Jonas said...

Wow, it happened again. I was watching for it in the Mavs-Warriors game and sure enough, the refs tried to jump in and aid Dallas. They called a bunch of pretty terrible fouls early and by the 7:48 mark, Dallas was already in the bonus, shooting free throws. Crazy.