OK, so we all know the refs got it wrong at the end of the Spurs / Lakers game 4. And sadly, we all know the refs usually get it wrong. Let's be honest, even the refs know they're getting it wrong, but...
...whose fault is it? The refs are now regularly doing whatever it takes to keep the scrutiny off themselves. It is human nature to do so, and I don't have any particular faith in NBA refs to behave otherwise. For years, refs have put the whistle away for the final 5 seconds or so of any big game, because there is a notion that the "players should decide it."...in Thunderdome, apparently.
Unfortunately, the way the NBA is set up, either the refs are forced to decide the game either way (by awarding a player "gimmie" free throws or completely ignoring a mug job like they did). Almost universally, refs have decided to go the "ignore the foul" route, because this method has become an accepted - even anticipated - part of the game (just listen to the resigned post-game comments of Popovich and Barry - they know how this works).
You think the foul would have been called if Brent had gone straight up and forced harder contact? I don't. I think Fisher would have had to sucker-punch Barry at the end of that game to for a foul to be called, and I think Fisher - wiley veteran that he is - knew that too.The Solution?
How about this. If a player is fouled in the final, let's say, 5 seconds of a game, the remaining time goes back up on the clock and instead of free throws, the offense can re-run the play (How many times could a team be fouled? Indefinitely - why? There's no incentive to keep allowing a team more chances at a game winning shot. And after each foul, the offense automatically gets 20 seconds to draw up a new play.) This shifts the advantage to the offense, but it would help ensure far fewer last last-second no calls, far fewer last-second fouls that everyone knows aren't going to get called, and would likely result in a lot more last-second game winning shots...sound exciting
, Mr. Stern?)
This idea may not be perfect, but I think it has merit. If this change is made, the refs would no longer have to worry about "being responsible" for game-deciding free throws. Would it be sad to have to institute such a policy because referees don't have the intestinal fortitude to call games well? Yes, but it's a way to eliminate at least a little of the very flawed human nature out of NBA refereeing.
- Evil Ted
Labels: fouls, NBA, referees, rule change