Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Particularly Bad Officiating

It really isn't worth pointing out crummy officiating in the NBA, because it sucks almost every night. And yes, I know that it is better in the NBA than at any other level of basketball (see: Tournament, NCAA, and Olympics, Athens), but that rationalization is becoming tired. If this is the best we can do than we need to figure something else out. Maybe assign specific refs to call specific penalties like in a soccer. Maybe use two 3-man teams, one at each end of the court. Maybe incorporate technology the way they do in tennis. Instant replay? An appeals system? Abolition of the foul limit? Your guess is as good as mine. But something has to happen, because other than David Stern’s arrogance, the officiating is the only thing standing in the way of a complete resurgence for NBA basketball.

Anyway, all of that said, I just had to point out that the officiating in tonight’s Lakers-Nuggets game was particularly bad, even by NBA, sorry, basketball standards. Dick Bavetta looked like he got his assignment from the league mixed up and accidentally made all his horrible calls against the hometown Nuggets rather than for them. Joe Forte looked like he just won a fan contest and was officiating a game for the first time in his life. I mean, this was a joke. On one sequence, Forte called a phantom offensive foul, then watched Kobe take four steps without dribbling, and then - maybe it was his way of evening things out - let Marcus Camby club Bryant on the head with both forearms. I saw guys getting knocked over with no calls, then, seconds later, hit with whistles for slight bumps. I think this team went about 0-for-15 on the tricky block/charge call, never once guessing right (because lets be honest, they were guessing). It was just garbage and it was no wonder that everyone was complaining.

And even though it ultimately didn't amount to much (I couldn't even tell who it favored, although at gunpoint I'd say the Lakers - not that it mattered since this series was o-v-e-r), it just ruined the game.

More generally, poor officiating is threatening to ruin a lot of games and maybe even the entire postseason.

We've got to figure something out.

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