In its two-minute report on refereeing during Saturday night's loss to the Cavs, the NBA refereeing office noted, in no surprise to Nets fans, that two critical plays should have gone the other way. Either could have spelled the difference in the 90-88 loss. Both involved LeBron James.
Here's the video ... and technical explanation on the first bad call which took place with a little less than two minutes left. Lopez was called for a charge while getting hooked by James. James applauded the refs for their decision.
LHH and LATR show James (CLE) applies a forearm with a bent elbow to Lopez (BKN) in the lower defensive box, which is legal. James then hooks Lopez’s arm from underneath and Lopez reacts by clamping James’ arm with his left off arm / hand and a double foul should be called. However, the slot sees only Lopez’s action and calls an offensive foul The lead referee has a dual whistle at this point, seeing the two players arms wrapped up. On plays in the paint, all three referees have responsibility to help with contact, and when two or three referees make a call, they are trained to make eye contact and the official who takes control of the play tweets multiple whistles to indicate he has the play. In this case, the referee who thought he had the best look was incorrect based on the angles available. We should have a double foul with BKN retaining possession.
And here's a frame-by-frame, courtesy of NetsDaily reader joey1521. (View it by downloading the image.)
And no, that wasn't enough. The NBA determined that the blatant no-call on James should have been a foul on the King. How blatant? How obvious? See for yourself.
No need for a lengthy explanation here.
As Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game notes...
Both calls had a significant impact on the game. The first negated a made shot by Lopez that would have given the Nets a one-point lead. The correct call would have also negated the shot, but the Nets would have retained possession. The second took the ball out of Lopez’s hands and gave the Cavaliers more time to set up, which took a full 24 seconds off the clock.
Of course, this ex post facto ruling doesn't matter to the Nets. They lost when LeBron hit a mini-hook with less than two seconds left. But it should matter to the NBA that James feels comfortable enough to whack an opponent so blatantly, believing he won't get called for it. It sorta makes the whole nightly referee report exercise a fraud.
- NBA: referees missed two foul calls on LeBron James late vs. Nets - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game