Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Suns-Spurs Game Two: Watching the Whistles

[Update: For those just now coming over here from some of the links out on the World Wide Web, please feel free to check out this more recent post, which offers some (perhaps surprising conclusions) about what might be going on.]

Tonight you all get a special treat. I am always stating both here on the blog and in conversations with friends that the Spurs enjoy an overwhelming advantage in almost every contest when it comes to the officiating. But this is hard to prove. So tonight I decided to watch every single play multiple times and then to watch the close calls in slow motion, in an attempt to ascertain what is really going on. I'm looking for fouls that don't get called, bad calls, and violations that don't get called. And for an added bonus, I am keeping track of "baby" points, which go to overt (and hilarious) complainers and people taking ridiculous flops.

Let's rock.

First Quarter

1st Suns possession - Bowen fouled Nash three times: a block, a push, and a reach. We'll just count it as one uncalled foul.
1st Spurs possession - Thomas gets called for a reach on Duncan, but replays reveal that it was a clean strip.
2nd Suns - Nash makes a nice up fake and gets Bowen to leave his feet and clearly commit a foul, Bowen then complains as if charged with manslaughter.
7th Suns - Duncan and Elson both hammer Amare on a dunk attempt and there is no call; Stoudemire does get a rebound and a call on the follow. I'm still scoring this as a bad no-call, because if Amare doesn't get that rebound, the Suns get screwed badly.
9th Spurs - Duncan takes tough fadeway and it looks like Thomas may have touched his shooting elbow. I'll give Duncan the benefit of the doubt and score this as a bad no-call.
11th Suns - Raja Bell bites it on a rebound attempt. Slow motion reveals he just fell down and that there was no Bowen foul (again, looking at all suspect plays in slow-mo on the TiVo).
12th Suns - Nash circles under the hoop and gets ridden to the ground by Bowen. No call, although it was not that egregious, probably a 50/50 call. I won't tally this one.
15th Spurs - Bell closes out on a Parker jumper, touches Parker on the hip with a fingertip and us called for foul. Maybe the most amazing foul I've seen in the second round. Well, after the call on Pavlovic in the Cavs-Nets game earlier tonight.
15th Spurs (part B) - After an offensive rebound on a Parker missed free throw, Duncan goes into the post, takes three steps (seriously, count them), throws his arms into Stoudemire, and gets the whistle. Amare is straight as an arrow. I honestly don't know what else a defensive player is supposed to do. This is what you would teach a big man at a clinic. In short, Amare gets boned again. Somehow, Steve Kerr doesn't bat an eye (saying only, "the crowd doesn't like it"). I'm telling you, we are all brainwashed. This is the reason I am performing this service tonight.
16th Suns - Classic San Antonio. Horry grabs Diaw, gets called for the obvious foul, turns to the blocked out official and pleads for a Diaw hooking foul. When he realizes the other ref had an easy view of it, he flashes a sheepish grin and raises his hand.
17th Spurs - Duncan, as the trailer, catches the ball at the top of the key, takes a step, and then drags his pivot foot. Obvious travel. No call. Of course, traveling calls are rare in general, so I'll let this one slide.
18th Suns - Barbosa misses a jumper and Diaw appears poised to grab the rebound, but Horry pushes him to the ground. Granted, Diaw acted a bit and the push didn't appear to be that hard, but it was much more blatant than the Bell touch foul on Parker. The crowd goes bonkers. An overreaction on that specific play (encouraged by Diaw's dive), but somewhat understandable given the one-sided nature of the calls.
19th Suns - Amare gets nice position, Nash throws a bounce pass and Duncan reaches around for an easy foul call. He immediately spins around, points at himself, and gives the ref his classic, "Who me? I'm Tim Duncan, you can't possibly be calling a foul on me" face. You stay classy, San Antonio. (I should mention that he then raises his hand like the league's best citizen that he is. Now if he would do that before complaining, I might be impressed.)
21st Spurs - Manu and Duncan run a pick and roll and Bell winds up on the ground with the crowd going crazy. In real time it seems like a classic Raja flop. However, in slow motion, you can see Duncan set the screen, put both hands into Bell's chest, and shove him to the ground. Not only a foul, but a legitimately dirty play. I should mention there was no call. Then, in an effort to waste the good will he has just earned, Bell tries to leg whip Duncan from the ground and trips him up. In fairness to the refs, they don't call this either. Two shady plays, two very obvious fouls, no calls. So this one is a draw.
23rd Suns - Ginobili, trying to draw an offensive foul on a pedestrian Diaw screen (a real 2005 Manu play when he became an uber villain; he's actually reduced that stuff quite a bit, to his credit), accidentally mows over Bell. When called for a foul, he is stunned. This is high comedy.
23rd Spurs - Ginobili puts the struggling Boris Diaw on skates and scores on one of those "off the wrong leg" numbers. I reviewed it because it looked like it might have been a travel, but other than a possible carry (which I would never call, personally, or else I would have to call that on every play of the game), he took the two steps all NBA players get. It just looked like a travel because of the wrong foot thing. So this one was all good.

End of First Quarter - Spurs 25 Suns 19.
Uncalled S.A. fouls - 4
Uncalled PHX fouls - 2
Bad calls on S.A. - 0
Bad calls on PHX - 3
"Net" advantage on calls - Spurs +7
Pathetic complaints - S.A. 3, Suns 0
Pathetic flops - Suns 2
"Net" baby factor - Spurs +1
Comments: Easy to see why Suns fans are ready to riot heading into the second quarter. Nothing terribly blatant, but in classic Spurs fashion they have pushed and grabbed and baited their way into a +7 advantage on calls. I'm being as generous toward San Antonio as I can and there is still no other way to score it. And this is a Phoenix home game! The net effect of this is a six-point lead for the Spurs. Also, despite Raja's (not the one where he fell, but the time he tried to sell the push) and Diaw's flops, the Spurs still are bigger babies, because of three hilarious whining displays on blatant calls. These were the kind of "are you kidding me right now?" knee-jerk reactions that make you wonder if they actually practice complaining.

Second Quarter (will reset possession count)

2nd Spurs - Oberto appears to catch Diaw with an elbow, but the slow-mo reveals that Diaw rode him with the hips first. So good call (the refs called the foul on Diaw). Now if only that play was also illegal for Bruce Bowen. Diaw gets dinged in my tally for complaining on this one.
4th Spurs - Oberto goes baseline and is stripped by Diaw. Very hard to see without a different angle, but the slow-mo seems to show Diaw hitting Oberto's wrist. This is probably a 50/50, but in the interest of fighting against my natural bias in this "study," I am chalking this up as a bad no-call in favor of Phoenix.
5th Spurs - Oberto "back taps" an offensive rebound while holding onto Diaw's left arm like a life preserver. I'm calling it a draw though because Diaw was performing some strange face guarding block out technique and was doing a little pushing himself.
5th Suns - Bell is called for a kicked ball, which I didn't even know could be called against an offensive player. He was just trying to pick it up and happened to bobble it into his own feet. Danny Crawford missed this one horribly. It's not part of the systematic officiating advantage that the Spurs usually get (the little shoves and hacks) and that the first quarter bore out, but was still a terrible call. This is more of the "garden variety" crappy NBA officiating.
6th Spurs - This is where you would expect the proverbial makeup call after the Danny Crawford botch job, but instead, they look the other way as Oberto clubs Diaw over the head on a rebound. I don't think much of Diaw, but his only crime here was getting in the way of Oberto's flailing fists.
6th Suns - At first I thought this was the makeup call, as Raja gets an "and one" that didn't look like much in real time. But the slow-mo shows Oberto throwing a forearm shiver into his ribs. If nothing else, this exercise is revealing Oberto to be a pretty despicable fellow.
7th Suns - During a fast break Oberto plants another elbow in Diaw's ribs. If this clown stays in the game it will A) skew the numbers and B) wear me out. This is already four times as long as I anticipated. But it seems there are a lot of close calls in an NBA game, all needing careful analysis if I'm going to come up with anything worthwhile. Still, I'm not counting this one because it was kind of a non-factor.
8th Spurs - This one was close but it appears Diaw hit Ginobili on the arm while trapping a pick-and-roll. Suns get a break here.
10th Spurs - Oberto shoves Marion in the back before receiving the pass, then when he catches and gets the Matrix in the air on a pump fake, gets to the line. Further review shows that Marion got pretty much all ball. You can't block a shot much better.
(Note: unless it really matters, I'm going to stop charting off-the-ball fouls that don't impact the action. Otherwise, Oberto and Bowen are going to screw this whole thing up.)
11th Spurs - Bowen catches a pass and then jumps sideways to shoot a three. Obviously, you can't make a jump stop and then jump with both feet; that is a travel. But AI has been doing this (although his is more of a slide) for years, so we won't harp on it. No harm.
15th Spurs - Amare slaps Horry in the face, but no call. Unfortunately for the Spurs, Horry decides to milk it instead of picking up the ball, so it leads to a fast break layup. The Suns get a favorable call, but give Horry a "baby" point.
22nd Spurs - After a prolonged clean stretch (there was one scramble play that just looked like good hustle by both teams), Parker draws a dubious foul by face planting. After repeat viewings, it is clear that no one in white touched him. This is only made worse by the fact that he took a step, then a jump stop, then another step (a crossover), than picked up his pivot foot. I'm not sure, but I think that is like three traveling violations on one play. Suns get screwed twice on one play, but we'll just count it as one. (The funny thing about Parker's travel is that Marv Albert then exclaimed, "Somehow he found the space!" Yeah, somehow.)
24th Suns - I'm not counting any of these, because of my vow to ignore off-the-ball fouls that don't directly impact the play, but I have to just shake my head in amazement (admiration?) at the stuff that Bowen gets away with. On this play (which ended in a Nash layup), he threw a forearm in Marion's face at one end of the court (as the ball was being inbounded) and then grabbed Kurt Thomas with both arms (to keep him from rolling after a screen) at the other. Some guys would get called for intentional fouls for this stuff.
26th Suns - Unbelievable play. Ginobili tries to flop, doesn't get the call, then wraps his arms and legs around Stoudemire's left leg to keep him from rolling and catching a pass. The ball goes skipping out of bounds and Amare stares at the ref in disbelief as he points down at Ginobili, who is doing his best koala bear impersonation. No call. This is RIGHT in front of Danny Crawford. Even Steve Kerr noted that this was a foul. Danny Crawford is having a rough game.
27th Spurs - Duncan mows over Nash and Pop goes crazy and gets a tech. No one is sure what Pop is upset about, but he definitely gets a "baby" point. Not as pathetic as D'Antoni's outburst in Game One, but still weird and unjustified.

End of Second Quarter - 49-42, Suns (30-17 Suns in quarter).
Uncalled S.A. fouls - 2
Uncalled PHX fouls - 3
Bad calls on S.A. - 0
Bad calls on PHX - 3
"Net" advantage on calls - Spurs +2
Pathetic complaints - S.A. 1, Suns 2
Pathetic flops - S.A. 1
"Net" baby factor - Even
Comments: The Spurs only had a +2 call advantage in this quarter and the Suns took advantage with a 30-17 second period.

Third Quarter

Spurs 2nd - Bowen came close to traveling, but kept his pivot foot down. Nothing but a crowd overreaction here.
Suns 2nd - Michael Finley gets called for a phantom foul on a Raja Bell drive. Bell's second free throw goes in and out in classic "ball never lies" fashion.
Spurs 6th - Bell gets called for a very tough blocking foul. Parker basically put his head down and ran him over. Even if Bell wasn't completely "set" or was "still moving," isn't an offensive foul ultimately a player control foul? That said, I'm not scoring this is a bad call, because there are too many charging fouls in general and I refuse to support the constant flopping going on. I don't think Bell flopped here, but he's done it enough that he loses the benefit of the doubt.
Suns 6th - Amare wants a foul call, but Duncan appears to have a clean block. Right before this Bowen accidentally knocked Nash down, which is fine, but then when Nash got back up, he grabbed him around the waist with both hands, which is not fine. I'm not scoring it, but I implore all basketball fans to watch a full game and monitor Bowen's every move. Then tell me that he didn't commit somewhere between 25 and 100 fouls.
Suns 7th - Amare has a monster dunk down the lane. It is funny, because Duncan hit him right on the arm on this one, yet Stoudemire doesn't seem to mind when he still scores. Hey, if he doesn't mind, I don't either. Duncan is off the hook on that one.
Spurs 9th - Thomas does a flawless job on Duncan, only to get a bad break when a loose ball turns into a foul. Good call though.
Spurs 16th - Amare gets away with a hold on Duncan. It is debatable whether it affected the play, because he let go before the pass was thrown. But since I could clearly see him holding Duncan's waist (it almost looked loving, like a slow dance) and since the Suns stole the pass, I'm saying "uncalled Phoenix foul." It is worth noting that this is only the second bad call of the entire third quarter and we've already got seven minutes in the books. By NBA referee standards, this quarter is a freaking Picasso.
Suns 16th - Oberto tries to take a charge, but both feet are clearly inside the restricted area. The he flops in incredible fashion.
Spurs 17th - Tough call on Amare as Duncan puts a forearm into his face, but there is no way around it. Some tough calls are still right calls. Stoudemire has been boned over many times in this series, but not this time.
Spurs 19th - Okay, these are the refs I know and love. Duncan gets away with an awful moving screen and then takes two steps backward before dishing out to Bowen for a three. I might let one or the other slide, but in sequence that counts as an "uncalled San Antonio violation." I'm also giving Kurt Thomas a pathetic flop here for trying to take a shady charge on Manu. Come on, Kurt, you've had a great game, you are better than that.
Suns 19th - Duncan hits Amare on the shooting hand and then across the shoulder, then tops it off with a look of total shock. Then Steve Kerr calls him out for it. Baby point for TD.
Spurs 20th - Funny moment. Oberto gets called for a three-second violation and is completely shocked. On further review, he was in the key for eight seconds.
Spurs 21st Horry gets knocked down after a steal with no call. The shove caused him to travel and they didn't call that either, so this appeared to be one of those plays were the refs just call nothing because they can't be bothered. Probably not the best way to go, but not worth counting in the tally.
Suns 24th - Spurs go crazy wanting a Diaw travel, but the slow-mo shows he took a step with the left, then one with the right. Nothing more than the typical move. Just looked weird, like a Ginobili drive.
Suns 25th - Suns fans want a goal-tending call on Horry and for good reason. He blocked it after it hit the backboard. Whoops.

End of Third Quarter - Suns 71 Spurs 64 (third quarter a 22-22 tie)
Uncalled S.A. fouls - 0* (note: Bowen had about 12 alone, but they didn't have a direct impact. Although you could argue that is exactly the genius of his approach, because the refs are probably thinking the same thing I am and therefore not calling them)
Uncalled PHX fouls - 1
Bad calls on S.A. - 1
Bad calls on PHX - 0
Uncalled S.A. violation - 2
"Net" advantage on calls - Even
Pathetic complaints - S.A. 1, Suns 0
Pathetic flops - Spurs 1, Suns 1
"Net" baby factor - Spurs +1
Comments: Much, much, MUCH better job by the officials in this quarter. Which is actually in keeping with my theories on this whole thing. I believe they do their shoddiest work early, because they know it will wind up being overlooked. But as John Hollinger of ESPN is fond of saying, points count the same in the first half as they do in the second.

Fourth Quarter

Spurs 3rd - Ginobili takes three steps (covering about 15 feet) and doesn't get called for traveling. The crowd is, shall we say, displeased.
Suns 10th - Bowen hits Barbosa across the chest. But it is one of those "we'll just call it out of bounds instead" plays, so no harm.
Suns 11th - After Nash throws a pass to Barbosa, Bowen hits Nash in the face. Seriously, watch Bowen for 48 minutes sometime. Really watch him. It will blow your mind. Like that old MTV show Diary, I thought I knew, but I had NO idea.
Suns 14th - Bowen doesn't like a solid screen from Kurt Thomas, so he grabs Thomas' leg then throws an elbow ... then gets posted up for two points.

End of Fourth Quarter - Suns 101 Spurs 81 (fourth quarter 30-17, just like the second quarter)
Uncalled S.A. fouls - 2
Uncalled PHX fouls - 0
Bad calls on S.A. - 0
Bad calls on PHX - 0
Uncalled S.A. violation - 1
"Net" advantage on calls - Spurs +3
Pathetic complaints - S.A. 0, Suns 0
Pathetic flops - Spurs 0, Suns 0
"Net" baby factor - None
Comments: The Suns ran away with it in the fourth quarter and at that point, the Spurs literally lost the will to foul.

End of Game Tally:
Uncalled S.A. fouls - 8
Uncalled PHX fouls - 6
Bad calls on S.A. - 1
Bad calls on PHX - 6
Uncalled S.A. violation - 3
"Net" advantage on calls - Spurs +10
"Net" baby factor - Spurs +2
Comments: I learned a lot from this. I learned that when you analyze every single play that a lot of calls that look bad really aren't that terrible. And that a lot of them really are. I learned that it takes about six hours to watch a game this way. I learned that even in a huge Suns win, the Spurs still got the benefit of +10 on the calls. And that was being as fair as humanly possible, giving San Antonio the benefit of the close calls (to balance any natural bias I might have), AND ignoring the 20-25 Bowen and Oberto fouls away from the play. I am more convinced now than ever that the Spurs have an enormous systematic advantage over every other team when it comes to the whistles. Now I just have to figure out why. I will explore this in the next post.


ebil said...

Well done. And enjoyable to boot!

I'm envisioning a nostalgic video promoted on late night TV...

"Who can forget such memorable melodies as Bowen busts Nash in his stitches? And what about that old classic Oberto to the ribs?"

Rags said...

Its human to err..
But it should not stop us from correcting it.
With the advancement in technology many of these bad calls can be corrected.
NBA should follow a System like Tennis..

Each Team should Get 1 or 2 chance Per Quarter to challange a call.
If the challange is found to be valid then that play should be replayed according to what the decision was .
Also the call should still be with the team.
Otherwise if the challange is found wrong they should reduce the number of challange left by One.

This way the game will be more impartial and the Players/Refs will be more accountable for there actions.

Anonymous said...

I have been saying this for years with no evidence to back it up but this well thought out article sums it up. Great work.

axegrinder said...


Thanks for taking the time to document this phenomenon.

Two thoughts:

1. This was a Suns home game. I wonder what the advantage will be in SA?

2. It was a blowout, so the fourth quarter was not as messy or the advantage as crucial as in a close game.

Jason K

Adam Hoff said...

Thanks for the comments. I really like the idea of that challenge rule. Obviously it would be hard to get a proper system (like challenge flags in the NFL), but it is worth considering. The other day I wondered if we needed to go to three refs at each end of the court (maybe they are just constantly out of position?) or some sort of lasor sensor regime.

The biggest thing - and I plan to finally throw up the accompying theories as to why this happens with the Spurs tomorrow - is that I believe the refs fall victim to a pretty basic human condition of being desensitized. The Spurs have been playing a very physical brand of defense for many years now and over time, I believe refs get used to seeing certain things and aren't "shocked" into calling a foul. They've watched Bruce Bowen hold a defender thousands of times, so that now they just equate that with his normal defense.

I'll dive into this in more detail tomorrow, but I think that is where I'm going on the theory end of things.

And to axegrinders point about this being a Suns home game, I agree completely. It is why I don't think Suns fans should get too excited by all the good things they saw on Tuesday. I won't be able to analyze each call on Saturday, but my guess is that S.A. will wind up somewhere in the neighborhood of +15 or +20.

Anonymous said...

Dude, this was awesome. I've bookmarked it as a reference tool for the next time I get in an argument with some douche bag who claims the Spurs are just "fundamentally sound."

Mike said...

this is the dumbest thing i have ever read...i could go through a game a point out my opinion about the refs calls on ever play but no one should care because its my opinion...get a life

Chiefs Fan said...

Does this even rise to the level of soft science? Of course not. But it was still informative and pretty damn funny. All those touchy Spurs fans who have known for years that their team is a bunch of hacks are sure to dislike such a breakdown.

Also, I always find it hilarious when people go scour the Internet to read random articles and then post things like "get a life." What exactly do you have right now? I mean, I obviously have no life if I'm writing this. It just cracks me up.

BenQRock said...

That's a fantastic analysis, Adam. I'm glad TrueHoop linked this. How long did this exercise take you? And would you ever do it again?

Also, Mark Cuban is on the line, and he wants to speak with you.

Hersey said...

I like the effort and it's a fun read. I trust your objectivity but this is right in line with Mark Cuban stuff though. Cuban's got tapes of just Tim Duncan he's posted on this blog- and a ton of stuff he's sent to the league office. Cuban is right about bad officiating (and the Spurs) but it ultimately creates a nasty atmosphere in Dallas for officials and opposing teams.

I think this is part of the reason the Suns run and try to avoid fouls. When a defense is set, they have much more time to grab, hold and basically muck up the game. When you deprive teams of that advantage, we get 'prettier' basketball and a showcase of skill rather than thuggery.

The Spurs only have one thug but they are very aggressive. The Suns have the weapons to score on them and that's really the best counter. Find the mismatches, force switches and exploit them.

Justin said...

A couple of points:
- the spurs do complain about foul calls, too much for my liking.
- every other team complains about foul calls. Ever watch Dallas? (FYI i'm not from the US so have no texas axe to grind).
- Bowen is a very tough defensive player and gets away with a bit here and there. So does Ben Wallace, every person who ever guards Shaq, most big men that try to guard Duncan (Nene and Najera set some new lows for shoving in the post), Stoudemire, I could go on.
- Phoenix plays an exciting, reasonably foul free brand of bball - as they do not play overly "physical". This is going to lead to a differential in the types of fouls called.
- Overall, I think your blog of foul calls is pretty biased. If you are going to do something like this, you should at least approach it from an unbiased perspective. You fit your observations to the result you wanted. It would be more interesting and readable then.

Anonymous said...

I'm conducting an equally scientific and unbiased experiment that analyzes the extent to which Suns fans and Spurs haters alike will go to make themselves feel better about constantly getting their shit handed to them by San Antonio. Another hypothesis I intend to prove is that the entire state of Arizona is full of whiny crybabies that can't fathom the thought that the Suns just can't win. Here's my evidence:

Anonymous said...

Careful Nony Mous. Only time will determine if AZ is a 'state of crybabies' or if San antonio is going to get the crap kicked out of them. Hold your tongue until after the series. Then we shall see who the crybaby is and who is going to get the crap kicked out of em.

Anonymous said...

I....HATE...the Spurs. That shit is coached, it has to be with so many guys doing it.

Steve said...

It is, perhaps, unreasonable of me to ask but.. can you do this for every game?

Surely the argument from San Antonio will be that this was 'just one game.'

I could try to get the video highlighting each play together for YouTube, too. Perhaps with solid video evidence we can send that to news outlets...

Vive la Revolucion!

Stephan said...

It is soo funny to read this article since I have been reeling all week after watching that game. I could recall 99% of the plays you referred to as I watched it on a high def tivo big screen and repeatedly replayed plays in disbelief. Im amazed that Amares comments are being met with such hype. You missed one interesting play in the second quarter where Bowen literraly jumps backwards into Amare and trips him to the ground. It was one of the strangest things ive seen on a basketball court. In reviewing it, it was clearly intentional. Why else would someone jump backwards so recklessly.
I also noticed the the officiating is shoddy early in the game and my theory is that the best time to control a game is early. You can change the entire game early on by getting key players in foul trouble. After a quick foul, key players will tone down their agressiveness. In the long term this has a major affect on the game. I still just cant believe how much of an advantage the spurs have on the whistles even as a road team. Today should be ugly.
BTW, i found your blog through truehoop.

Whining Suns Fan said...

Quote: ". . .the entire state of Arizona is full of whiny crybabies that can't fathom the thought that the Suns just can't win."

Interesting thing to say. Fact is, Suns fans are at fault only for being extremely excited that the suns CAN win. Last I looked, the Suns just handed the Spurs a 20-point blow-out.

The Spurs are a great team and I hate playing them, but you sound pretty stupid saying that the Suns can't win.

Anonymous said...

I spent about 15 minutes double checking your "unbiased" comments.

I can't imagine them being any more biased towards Phoenix.

Yes, a few were missed calls...both ways...stemming from the fact that you have slo-mo and the officials don't.

What a waste of time.

as i am said...

wow, u r a big baby, there r always bad calls both ways and good calls both ways, u need to realize being a ref is touger then it looks , id hate to see u try it , u would suck ! , anyway if u hate it so much dont watch , then guees what , it wont bother u ! idiot !

BenQRock said...

Can you please do another analysis like this for tonight's game? By my rough, unscientific estimate, the Spurs get the benefit of 65% of the whistles. The non-calls were egregiously in favor of San Antonio as well.

Anonymous said...

You Suns fans are such babies. Just play the game, and accept the final results. spurs are wiser and crafty and can play and perform when needed. Spurs in 5. Thanks Stoudawiner!

Aaron said...

HOW POIGNANT! THE SECURITY WORD I HAD TO TYPE WAS "HACKZY"! It's a good thing you didn't do this little experiment on game 3 Adam. It's 3am and you wouldn't be to halftime on your TIVO yet...

Anonymous said...

well done.

but it's just obvious why SA gets the nod in close calls, they are ALWAYS talking to the refs, seriously. no matter how obvious a foul may have been.
bowen, duncan and manu are the baddest, watch out for that. a ref simply thinks about these discussions/conversations when he has to make the next call, if he admits it or not.

now, it's up to you if you call that clever or lame or whatever...

Michael said...

I really only went and checked game film on your first 2 plays that you analyzed but the bias of that (and time concerns...this must've taken forever!) stopped me from checking anymore.

The first one (with 3 fouls!) on bowen...i simply don't see anything. blocking? pushing? reaching? I don't think you know what blocking or reaching even is...I don't think a lot of fans do...Pushing, I think you're okay with but i didn't really see it. That is regular nba perimeter defense in the playoffs. Of course, depending on your bias, you could see a defender "bodying up" and call it a "blocking foul." "bodying up" is when you receive the contact of the offensive player as he's moving forward into your space--as long as you, as a defender, don't impede into the offensive player's space to create the contact, it is not blocking. "Bodying up" sometimes can be changed into a charge if the defender flops sometimes, which I think is a shame for the game. By your standards, kurt thomas does a blocking foul every possession on tim duncan. And, contrary to popular opinion, you are indeed allowed to reach for the ball while defending. That is how a stat called "steals" happen sometimes in the NBA. As long as you maintain defensive position and not lunge forward and impede the offensive player's progress (that is part of the reason why they teach young ball players never to lunge, yet "flick" with your it prevents fouls and helps you play better defense), it's okay, as long as you don't hit the offensive player's arm or wrist either. Just the simple act of "reaching" to try to get a steal does not constitute a foul. Just the fact that you called 3 fuckin fouls on the first possession alone is ridiculous. If you were a real nba ref, you would be calling an extremely tight game and you would probably never ref another playoff game in your life (and another thing contrary to popular belief...many things that go on during an nba game can be seen as fouls...they're not called..look AWAY from just the ball, on screens, etc. next time you watch a game).

And now, your second foul analysis. A fan biased against the spurs will clearly see that as a clean swipe. But someone biased the other way will say Thomas got Duncan's right hand along with the ball afterward (along with some arm contact). I for one, would say that although there was some contact on duncan's hand and arm, I, as ref in the playoffs, would let that go and see it as a swipe, as thomas did get a lot of the ball with it. You also have to factor in the unfortunate but very real "star factor" that occurs in the nba, where calls that could go the other way are called in the favor of superstars. But with all said and done, there was indeed contact with duncan's body, along with the ball, no matter how small you perceive it to be. And...I'd also like to add that Thomas holds, grabs, pulls, scratches (as Charley Rosen from foxsports points out) on nearly EVERY play. Very rarely (when you look at the proportion of fouls that occur and the fouls that get called on thomas) are they called. These are the playoffs, physicality is the name of the game...even if thomas fouls nearly EVERY play.

And your analysis, if you aren't aware of it, is pretty biased against the spurs. A large part of this I presume is part of your long standing opinion that the spurs get away with calls, as you stated to start your post off with. Now whether this is true or not is not the point. The point is, whether it's true or not, this is a clear stated bias if for nothing else than the simple human tendency to not want to admit you're wrong. Even the most unbiased human being prefers to believe that he/she is right and not wrong. Human nature.

So, great effort on your analysis (I did read through the rest, even if I didn't verify the rest of it...I did keep them in mind as I watched a lot of the game again for entertainment). I'm sure it took some time to do and I appreciate and admire the effort. But, while there was good analysis on some areas, your bias came shining through on many others.

As for the baby/whining factor, do you not pay attention to Mike D'Antoni during any (ANY) of the suns' games?? Or do you just turn away from the tv set every time? I don't know if coaches factor into the equation but you have to admit the guy does get a little out of hand to say the least. And you also have to admit that you over-exaggerate the spurs whining (although they do have a very real tendency to whine/complain/contest at a very annoying level). Bowen complained like he was charged with manslaughter?? That was a pretty big exaggeration (I for one, would like to get rid of the foul call where you get someone in the air and jump straight into him, breaking the vertical plane and thrusting yourself into the defender's rightful space I might add, to get the's a ridiculous play even if everyone in the league uses it now. according to the rules, it shouldn't even be a foul).

Michael said...

When I mean when I say "look away from the ball," I do mean to look at multiple players throughout the game and not just bowen and oberto.

And on a second skim through your "analysis," I found coaches do factor into your baby/whine factor, as you cited popovich...I suggest you factor in d'antoni now (this game was a blow-out for a good portion of the game, so I give you some room to work with here as it might not have been as bad as usual...but it's noticeable in any game, no matter the score)

Adam Hoff said...

To All:

Sorry I wasn't responding to the comments this weekend. Normally I like to comment and keep the exchange of ideas going, but unfortunately, I was out of town and never had a chance to get online.

Good comments by everyone. It seems that Spurs fans think I'm a hater and Suns fans think I'm actually rooting for the Spurs. It's like that old Ricky Nelson song ("You can't please everybody, so you've got to please myself.") What would please me, as I've stated before, is a Suns title. I'm not a Suns fan and I've only spent about 72 total hours in AZ in my life, but I love the style of play, love the way it is influenced other NBA teams, and would like to see this ridiculous "they can't win it all playing like that" mentality go away for good.

As for replicating this "analysis" for Game Three or any other game, it probably won't happen.

Reason #1 - there is just not way to make it objective enough. I tried my hardest to be unbiased, to examine each play as closely as possible, and so on, but the bottom line is that people are right when they note I have a stated bias. Even if the findings are right, what good do they do?

Reason #2 - It took FOREVER. I just don't have time.

My instinct is that the Spurs probably enjoyed the advantage again in Game 3, although there were bad calls both ways and Diaw nearly ripping Manu's eye out of the socket stands out as the worst of them. But I did think that the refs called the game very differently for Amare and Duncan, which wasn't a huge surprise. And for a two-time MVP, Nash sure doesn't get much protection.

Last thing: someone seemed to take exception with my very first comments on Bowen, but if you watch that footage, he fouls three teams. Comparing his D on Nash to Thomas' in the post is apples and oranges, because there are different rules. You can use one arm shivers to basically push people down low, as long as it is one arm. But there is supposed to be zero hand checking on the perimeter - a rule change that led to Kobe and Iverson and others going nuts last year in regard to ppg. And that allowed Wade to single-handedly win a title last season. But I particularly enjoyed that comment because it was very well-written and had some good insight. I just disagreed with that first series. (As for D'Antoni, you are right, but I never caught him going nuts during that game. 1 or 3 and he would have racked up half a dozen "baby" points. Don't worry though, his "petulant child" routine has not escaped me.)

Oh, and I hope Mark Cuban is on the line, because I've got a great script about NBA refs gone wild that I think his production company might be interested in.

(I'm glad to see people leaving comments and I hope the True Hoop readers - probably best group of readers of any sports blog; that and Deadspin - stick around. I'll try not to piss too many people off, but I can't promise anything.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think all the off the ball fouls should be ignored if they dont affect the play. If they are that blatent or that numerous then they might not affect that play, but they will affect future ones when (purely for example :P ) Bruce "Lee" Bowen should have fouled out 3:27 into the game and is still getting away with it later on where it does affect the play. Oh and to the San An lovers, esp that anonymous guy, just check out the Bowen flying kick on youtube if you haven't already, and then admit that at least Bowen, if not the Spurs as a whole, is a dirty mutha.

Anonymous said...

I sure do hope you have a different fulltime job. NBA is a contact sport. There is a very close line between what is foul and what is not. If you are so good at it, please do apply for a ref position at NBA. Please note that you dont have instant replays to make decisions.

The battle down at the post is for position. How could one hold Shaq back without putting a body on him. the defender has to get to the sweetspot before the opponent does and hold it firm. You dont want to play like that, well then be good at what you do. The Suns were very good couple years back, and Spurs ran with them. Now the Suns are not so good at what they do, they want to be cry babies.

You can sit here all day and count all the uncalled whistles, but nobody pays you 17 mill to just run up and down and shoot hoops. You got to raise above a strong and tricky defender. Else sit at home.

If you dont want to watch SA-DET, it is just too bad then.

Anonymous said...

Obviously a suns fan wrote this article. Quit crying and man up to the fact that the suns are being out played physically and obviously mentally.

Anonymous said...

Time to do the Warriors-Jazz games...give the baby factor the Steven Jackson and the Dirty Mexican to Carlos "Elbows" Boozer.

Anonymous said...

Kind sir, please invest time in doing the same when Bron Bron plays the Pistons. This guys gets more calls than the bank when welfare and social security direct deposits are not there the day before the first of the month. Apply any of the calls you just listed to Bron Bron and not only do all of the Spurs foul out, but Bron Bron sets a new free-throw record. Absolutely ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. For one, the refs don't have Tivo genius. Two, to posit that NBA refs, who are also professionals, are all together in a 'lets help SA' conspiricy, is assinine. Furthermore, if you have six hours to watch a game play by play in slow motion, then I think you win the "baby award." I'm so tired of hearing all this complaining about the calls. THEY ALL EVEN OUT. Get a life. What about game three? Pf's were Suns 24 and Spurs 22. Yeah, big conspiricy going on. The reality of it is that SA is a small market team with few superstars and fewer players who act like superstars. No one likes their grind it out style and bitches b/c their the NBA gets dominated by them year after year. The Suns need to man up and quit their bitching. If not, SA goes up 3-1 and cruises to the Conference finals. Maybe you should be watching Bill O'reily on your Tivo to get your conspiricy fill, idiot.

Anonymous said...

could you PLEASE do this same thing for a duke men's basketball home game next year? Just like San Antonio, they're no fun to watch and get away with way too much.

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with the two teams involved being the Spurs and the Suns. Run and gun teams will never get the calls that half-court teams do. And even if they did, it would slow the game and work against them. And in the playoffs that fact is magnified by the increased intensity levels. That is one reason why the run and gun has never produced a championship. It does look like an easy solution at times, but it's fools' gold. It's always a better idea to change your sails than to try to change the wind. You might as well complain that Denver has an advantage because of the altitude. I doubt Stern will make them dig a mile-deep pit to play their games in.

Anonymous said...

Spurs fans are funny.
Everyone, including casual fans, know that the Spurs play dirty and whine like no other. A horribly annoying combination.

Anonymous said...

Also, can you keep a tally only on Kurt Thomas? This guy gets away with more contact than anyone else on the floor. Pushing, shoving, grabbing, clutching, holding, hanging on to Duncan's jersey for dear life.

If PHX wants the game called tightly, expect Kurt Thomas to have 3 fouls in 5 minutes.

Doesn't matter. Tim still owns him every single night.

This is the playoffs,'s physical. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Dude, This was a little biased. Plus not entirely accurate. You can jump off two feet after a jump stop. That is not a travel. Plus ITS THE PLAYOFFS. Dirtyness is a virtue. Look at every team that has ever won a championship, and I will show you a team that can physically bother and dominate the other team.

Anonymous said...

First of all we should have a Spurs fan do the same and I bet his comes out different. Let me tell you there is a lot of off the ball that the Suns do.
Did you ever see any games in the late 80's and the 90's. Go back and look at some of the hits Jordan took. Even more than that look at the hand and hip checking. Todays games is much more soft than it used to be

Duane in Orlando said...

Let me preface my comments by saying i am a HUGE spurs fan, and have been all my life.

First off, i immensely enjoyed your was entertaining and funny. I agree with many of your points. Bruce Bowen and especially Oberto get away with way too much. Hell. Oberto just runs roughshod all over the opposition he is so damn clumsy! It's comical to be sure.

But, if there's anything I've learned from watching this series (and others in this years playoffs) it's that I clearly do not understand the rules of basketball. The best players in the game routinely get away with drawing contact and they are rewarded with whistles. Duncan is a master, with his up and under moves that draw contact and free throws. Steve Nash finds a way to drive the lane/baseline, jump AWAY from the basket INTO the defender and he goes to the line every time. It goes both ways. Nowitzki gets calls everytime he drives the lane. Enough said about that.

I've heard some of you say that the play of the Spurs is coached. My response to that is...damn right it is. Each and every one of the Spurs players is relentless on defense, especially weak-side rotations and closing out on perimeter shooters. Nobody ever gives up on a play, and each pass, shot and dribble is contested. Do the Spurs get away with a lot?, hell yea they do. But they're so active on D, they also get called on a lot of fouls. If Phoenix were half as tenacious as San Antonio on the defensive side, I'm sure they'd get away with some (more) things too.

I get the impression from some of your responses that none of you have ever played in even a pickup game of basketball. Everyone knows the feeling when it's 14-13, game is to 15. Things get tight; physical. Nobody is out there to call a couple of fouls with the game on the line, and that is what playoff basketball is all about. Let them play! Rise to the level of physicality and man up.

You guys have a good team for sure, but show some more class. If anybody has anything to b!tch about, it's nash, and he's the only classy one of the bunch for the most part.

We got hoops.


Anonymous said...

You enjoy Tivo way too much

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this. It probably has a natural bias because Adam was just sitting around watching a Spurs game and started wondering to himself "How the hell do they get away with it?", like many NBA fans have, only he had the initiative to do something like this.

My biggest pet peeve with the Spurs isn't even what they get away with, it's the whining. They don't just whine at fouls; watch the next game and every time the Suns score or the Spurs miss a shot Ginobli or Horry or Bowen or Duncan will look wide-eyed at a referee and put his hands up. Once you notice it it'll make you want to root against the Spurs for the rest of your life.

Adam Hoff said...

Great comments from everyone. I'm not sure the "you are an idiot, I hate you" vibe is necessary, but it is all good. I have thick skin. I would like to direct everyone to the "Breaking News!" post where I take this "data" (which I know is total crap; it was just an exercise, people) and then try to figure out why it happens. My conclusion? That is is byproduct of San Antonio being the one team that keeps the same front office, coach, players, etc. and uses the same system. I think they've earned it. Which means now I've pissed off the Suns fans as well. (Of which I am not one, let the record stat. I love Nash and the freewheeling style and think that more points and more pace is good for the NBA and that if people can't remember the Riley Knicks and Heat then they are either very young or have very short memories.)

As for TiVo, yes I do love it too much. Guilty as charged.

(I do want to state again that I apprecite the comments the pretty solid discourse we are having on this. Even the ones that disagree are - mostly - well written and pleasant. I'm thoroughly enjoying this back-and-forth.)

Nate said...

In my experience, no one can overcome his bias on the matter of officiating. It's all just whining, one way or the other.

Besides, who cares? No team in history got as many calls as Michael's Bulls, and no one even mentions it anymore. In the long run, refs' calls are only footnotes to the footnotes, and everyone remembers the championships.

Anonymous said...

You should have done this during the Lakers-Suns series.

The Suns were getting all the calls!!!

Nate said...

But they're so active on D, they also get called on a lot of fouls.

Actually, for many years the Spurs have been the least penalized team in the league, and for a good reason -- they play great help defense with their feet on almost every possession. They almost never get caught reaching, and that's where most fouls are called, because a flailing arm is the easiest thing to see in a fast game.

Teams that get into your chest can bump you or forearm you (like the Spurs do and like Jordan's Bulls did and Larry Brown's Pistons did and like Riley's Knicks did -- notice, winning teams all), and it's difficult for a ref to see, because it's not a hack with an arm or a leg stuck out to impede a cut or a bad challenge of a shot at the rim.

Anonymous said...

The biggest waste of internet space I've ever read, and I read Fox News! I can't believe so many Suns fans are actually embracing the whole "it's the refs fault" thing. I learned to stop doing that in little league. Hard to understand why when the Suns have such a classy and hard-nosed leader like Steve Nash. Y'all gotta be more like Steve.

Aaron said...

Great post. I really dislike the Spurs. Check this out. I wrote it before the series.

Anonymous said...

The refs have made this the league of babies and cheats. Tim Duncan , and Bruce Bowen dont deserve to be in the league. I can play better than both of them combined, and I can do it fairly with no whining like a baby. Human err? My !@#* Give Me a break.

Little experiment, let me kick you in the nads, break your nose and slap you around a lil.

Furthermore Steve Nash Has more class than any other nba player in the world. To get beat up like he has with the spurs and not pout, but puts the blame on himeself for losing the game!!!... That my friend is a HERO. If the Suns do not WIN the NBA Championship then the nba is nothin but corrupt refs and whining baby players(Tim Duncan and all spurs not to mention Kobe Bryant).

Anonymous said...

Great writing. Now get from in front of the TV, forget that you are a fan of one team or another, grab a whistle and try to officiate a game between 10 year olds. That will be nowhere close to the speed of an NBA game. Then write a blog about that.

Anonymous said...

Bad Math in the tally in the first quarter...shouldn't it be Spurs +5 no +7?

Adam Hoff said...

You are right, I think I screwed something up. I think it is actually in the individual tallies, when I went back and only counted Bowen's series of initial fouls (note: "in my opinion," in case that part wasn't obvious) as one. When I get a second, I will try to figure that out. Good spot.

To the previous comment; I've officiated a ton of basketball games at a variety of age levels and it is no easy task. But aren't these guys supposed to be the best in the world at their job? The "what if they pulled you out of the stands" thing doesn't work for me, because you could say that about anything. "How dare you criticize the CEO of Ford! You think you can do better?" The nature of criticism is such that you can't always step in and perform the job better, but you can still analyze and look for patterns. But I grant you that it is hard. Point taken.

(And the bottom line is that this whole thing is proving that officiating is just as sticky of a business as ever in the NBA. Tough league to officiate. And the recent rule changes that don't seem to be enforced - what happened to the no whining policy? - are only make things tougher. I'm glad I brought it up, even if I've managed to get fans of two teams to hate me.)

NinjaTech said...

wow, you are pathetic. Did you really slurp all over your TIVO for hours to do this? I'm sorry, you are so sad.

So the NBA and its refs are all involved in a conspiracy to get the Spurs to the Finals? So, they can get those killer ratings that homers like you complain about? So that's it, that's why SA has won 3 and are up for #4, not because of Duncan (greatest player of the last decade) or Robinson, or Popovich... Yeah, this also makes sense with Stern's whole "clean league" dream, get the 'dirtiest' teams (Pistons/Spurs) to the finals so we can show how 'bad' we are. Wow, you must be an Ivy leaguer.

Just to check: How many years have you ref'd in the NBA? Any sports league, even little league? OR, maybe, at the middle school you attend? How many years have you played/coached/waterboyed in the NBA? Or NCAA? OR the middle school you attend? What are your creds? Why don't you just shut up and put up a website to raise money for orphan kids you loser.

Blake said...


For years NBA fans have observed how, collectively as a team, the Spurs are notorious at flopping, faking, fowling, and foot fumbling. Now, how long do you think it will take for the NBA officials to clearly see? Why are the Spurs "entitled" to "NBA title treatment" whenever they play? Doesn't either team entering the arena have the same chance of winning the game? the series? I hope Commissioner Stern reads your blog--brilliant!

Adam Hoff said...

To Ninja,

Read my previous comment (re: my officiating experience).

Read my "Breaking News" column for my conclusions on this (where I specifically say there is no conspiracy).

And try to check your anger managment issues at the door. It's all good over here, no need try to bully people into opening orphanages. (Although I wonder if the world would be a better place if we bullied kids into philanthropic mindsets at a young age, instead of drugs and getting bad grades. You, my friend, might have a worthy presidential platform for educational reform.)

Adam Hoff said...

Blake, thanks for the words, but you should also read the "Breaking News" blog where I actually decide that the Spurs are somewhat entitled to this treatment. (Cringing.) Hope you still enjoyed the piece after taking in the conclusion.

Anonymous said...

For those who are for and those who are against…

Biased or unbiased you can see that the media has even caught on and began to question the reliability of the calls when pertaining to the spurs involvement. That in its self has to show for something.

Now to those who are sitting high with the untouchable spurs...

The suns played with out a key player for over 26 minutes of the game. Another key player had an extremely off night (statistically speaking). YET, the Suns still held within 10 and nearly developed a comeback. With that in mind, what does that say about the beloved San Antonio Spurs who when playing the suns at their best lost by 20 points?

Anonymous said...

lol.....Now this is one of the most bias articles I have ever read. This guy must actually think the Suns are the better team whines and every team gets bad calls. I could go look at the tape and see a foul everytime Duncan goes up for a shot in the lane, and the same could be said about Amari. Bowen is a dirty player if he is not on your team just as I think Raja is a dirty player. The truth is they are both really good defenders, in order to keep the opponent in check you have to be aggresive. The only difference in this series is that the Spurs will impose their will on the Suns. The Spurs are just the better team. Oh and by the way I dont have a team I go for, I just love watching playoff basketball. The women go home and the Men play for Championships.

Anonymous said...

anonymous above me....what game are you watching? they impose their will, you are correct, but they impose it by cheating and getting away with it. i caught only the 2nd half of this game and its obvious Bowen fouls Nash every time down the court. don't be blind to it just watch and look for it. the spurs are a notoriously dirty team and its even worse when they play in front of their ignorant crowd. go to New York to watch a game, they may stink, but the fans at least know the game. Texans should just stick to football.

Nate said...

Hey, this should be fun! I've got the game downloaded. Let's take an honest, unbiased look to see if you're right about those horrible calls! I'll excerpt your post for clarity when necessary:

Tip-off: Ref throws the jump ball directly over Amare's head so Duncan can't reach it. Oldest trick in the book. Conspiracy!

1st Suns possession - Bowen "fouled" Nash three times: a block [Nash charges with a shoulder straight into a stationary Bowen, no charge called] , a push [touched him on the arm on the perimeter after Amare shoved him in the back on a bad pick] , and a reach [touched his hip on a drive] . We'll just count it as one uncalled foul. [If those "fouls" are called consistently, every game would end up in Adam's dream scenario of 120 foul shots and a scintillating 4th quarter matchup between the last five guys on the bench who didn't foul out in 20 minutes.]

1st Spurs possession - Thomas gets called for a reach on Duncan, but replays reveal that it was a clean strip [No, replays reveal that Kurt, after fouling Tim twice and hitting him in the chest once on the post-up, had his right arm wrapped around Tim while his left reached across Tim's body to foul his right wrist -- a very simple foul call that Kurt knew was a foul the second the whistle blew].

2nd Suns - Nash makes a nice up fake and gets Bowen to leave his feet and clearly commit a foul, Bowen then complains as if charged with manslaughter [Bowen was standing straight up on the ground when Nash jumped sideways into him -- Bowen talked to the ref for one second, saying "I was straight up," which in the Spur-hater brain equates to "complaining as if charged with manslaughter." Good to see you've overcome your anti-Spurs bias so easily!]

2nd Spurs -- How did you miss Raja Bell fouling Finley (at least by your "Bowen standard") before knocking the ball of him? Wait, I think I know how you missed didn't want to see it.

I could go on, but my point is obvious, and I don't have enough Suns-hate in me to invest six hours on a fool's errand.

But seriously, what game were you watching?

Take That Spike Lee said...

Can I say something without the city of San Antonio going ape s***? You guys need to lighten up.

I was prepared to come onto this board and tell the author that perhaps he needed a social outing or to go to a movie or something. You know, the old "get a life" shorthand.

But the people that need a life are those actually going back to a game that was SIX F***ING DAYS AGO and posting counter points to the original comments. Are you f***ing serious? Now I'm a loser for even commenting on these commentors, but it was just so hilarious. Talk about get a life.

And that revisionist history of Game Two that nate just threw up, give me a break. I don't have the game on my iPod or downloaded into my brain or anything like you gay nerds, but I do remember that first sequence and Bowen fouled the s*** out of Nash. A charge? What game were YOU watching?

I swear, commentors are bugging me even more than bloggers these days.

Michael said...

My point exactly...

but like I said, I think Adam really did give an all-out, well-intentioned effort.

But I do find it funny that all throughout BOTH "articles," or "analyses," or whatever this is, he states his earnest effort at objectivity, yet the bias is obvious.

Then he states, after reading some responses from readers, that this whole endeavor is impossible to do w/out a bias. Bullshit. Even as a spurs fan, I could go through and offer a much more objective analysis of the calls (as I and the previous poster did with the first 2 fouls that Adam pointed out).

Most of my annoyance is NOT with Adam though, as he seems amiable and like i said, really did set out with the right intentions. My annoyance is with all these other guys in here hailing this as the greatest analysis since Galileo.

Think what you want (no matter how ignorant those thoughts are)--just have some sort of (preferably high) standard when collecting evidence to form your opinions and thoughts about things. I guess this goes for all things non-basketball related too.

Michael said...

I was agreeing with nate...i didn't finish reading the comment of the guy after him.

Michael said...

Eh...I like reading..even blog comments that have much more anger, bitterness, condescension than reason...

I don't live in San Antonio and what's wrong with having a recording of your favorite teams' games in the playoffs?

And I actually enjoy watching basketball games (yes, even ones that actually occur), so it really wasn't too big of a deal to go back and keep adam's points in mind while watching again.

And I don't really spend a lot of time trying to think of a "counter analysis." It takes just a bit more time than it takes for me to type these words. Yes, I'm just that smart.

Anonymous said...

i enjoy watching games that actually "occured in the past" is what i meant to say.

Adam Hoff said...

Okay, let's all calm down here. This will probably be my last response in this thread, due to the new "60 Rule" where I shut it down on old posts that hit 60 comments. (Otherwise I'll never get anything done in "real life.")

I don't know how I'm supposed to respond to alternative views to that game. I respect them and the effort and don't agree with Spike Lee up there that anyone is a loser. But I certainly don't see things the way you do. And I don't hate the Spurs nor do I love the Suns. I have a stylistic preference, which was stated. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. If you really think Nash should have been picking up charges on those plays, well, there is an impass that no discussion nor slow-mo technoglogy will ever bridge.

I'm glad I took a shot at breaking down that game, because most people seemed to enjoy the dialogue that it prompted and there were many requests for future games. But this type of thing is obviously too subjective to truly analyze, no matter how fair you try to be. But it was a fun experiment. And I'm sorry to all those Spurs and Suns fan that I seemed to have injured irreparably.

Hopefully I will see all of you in the comments section of future posts, where I will probably be sticking to comparing Sasha Pavlovic to Michael Schofield, wondering why Mehmet Okur won't try Mehmet Oz's diet to get rid of that jowel (could it be a Sampson-like source of power?), and hoping someone watches the Eastern Conference Finals so they don't have to cancel it.

Seriously, I hope you stick around. This post is probably one of the more controversial things I've written (at least top 1%) out of hundreds of columns and hundreds of blog posts. I'm not out to be the next Skip Bayless or anything. So if you liked this, fine. But if not, keep weighing in on the lighter side. I'm not going to sell out (can you sell out when you are writing for free?) to appease people, but I feel like insight from others is always positive. Except when it comes from a-holes. Then, we all lose. Except the orphans who might get a home out of it.

Take That Spike Lee said...

Sorry about the post above, all. That was a bit much. I'll stick around. I like what I'm seeing on these other posts. I also like that you will respond and be cool about it. Lesson learned. See you on the other side.

Anonymous said...

very well done! I enjoyed readint this. My only concern is it is based on 1 game which was highly noncometative in terms of the score. It wouls be more accurate and interesting if based upon entire series or a close game. I don't think 1 game is enough data for you to say that the spurs have a systematic advantage over every opponent. Not enough data to jump to that conclusion in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Bowen is the dirtiest player in the NBA. Period.

Anonymous said...

Bowen should be hung from the gallows

Trollificus said...

I thought the article was an admirable attempt to discern whether or not, in fact, the Spur's vaunted 'great defense' didn't involve a bit of 'getting away with sh*t'.

It does. It would be more acceptable if it didn't also involve so much a)whining and b)dirty play (ref Bowen). The Spur's approach recalls the "five guys fouling for 48 minutes" philosophy espoused by Riley during his Knick days. Set the bar so that the refs are just flat UNABLE to call all the fouls that occur. It worked then and seems to be working now.

That said, it would be nice if the rules were more realistic, allowing for some defense. But Stern forbid anyone tries to prevent a superstar from making another "fabulous", "exciting" 0-foot shot.

I'd like to see the league stop messing with the rules to artificially create "exciting" plays for noobs and the much-referenced "casual fan". Personally, I HATE the "casual fan" and don't agree the league should cater to him (or her) at all.

When I heard, last night, the TNT announcer say "Vince is a star in this league. He should just lower his shoulder and put the onus on the officials.", I just about puked. Do we really WANT superstardom to require the collusion of the refs?? For "heroic effort" to consist of 24-free-throw 4th quarters like that which gained D-Wade his reputation as a "winner"??? I say no. The refs should try to call the game straight as possible, disregarding stardom, home team, rookie status, ratings and shoe contracts. Not saying this is perfectly possible, not saying the game isn't really hard to ref, but it seems the best way to maximize the ref's chance to NOT SCREW THINGS UP would be to remove as many judgement calls and subjective variables as possible.

If stardom, or victory, comes as a result of playing on the ref's weaknesses and the league's desire for ratings from 'casual fans', I don't think it's a league I want to patronize.

And to bring this little rumination back around to the Spurs-Suns conclusion, screw the Spurs. Heh.

ps) Jazz fan. Clean-playin' and clean livin', boo-yah!

Anonymous said...

Anybody that wasn't a super emotionally invested Spurs fan knew this series was crooked. The Suns got robbed of a legit chance to win a championship, and were pretty clearly (in my mind and probably most people's now) the better team.