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Refs fire back at FiveThirtyEight, call Nets report ‘fake news’

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

NBA referees had enough. This time with the media.

Last week, FiveThirtyEight posted a piece based on statistical analysis of the NBA’s Last Two Minute Reports - suggesting which team has been on the wrong end of late game calls. (Hint, their colors are black and white.)

In the 538 report, the Nets have been on the wrong side of calls an astounding 28 times - more than any other team in the NBA.

In their response, posted Saturday, the refs went right for the jugular.

Sometimes we respond, sometimes we just let it go. But one article published by FiveThirtyEight.com last week was so egregiously wrong in it’s conclusions it warrants a significant response.

Here’s their specific response to the analysis that the Nets got the wrong end of all those blown calls.

“The conclusion, as made clear in the headline, is that the Nets are the team “wronged by the refs the most.

But this is incorrect analysis for several reasons. First, these numbers aren’t grounded in any context. Were there 28 incorrect calls that went against the Nets in 4 L2M reports, meaning 7 per L2M? Not even close. Instead, the Nets were involved in 25 games that had L2M reports, meaning the total number of incorrect calls that went against the Nets, based on this data, from the start of the season through February 28, was just 1.12 per game.”

Even if the refs’ counterargument is indeed correct, it doesn’t really make anybody with the Nets feel any better. It still means they’re getting one missed call per minute in the final two minutes of games. Or simply put - two wrong calls in the last two minutes of games they’ve cited.

What does all of this mean? Nothing, really. They’re all still losses. It’s still unfortunate regardless what the “correct” analysis is.

One thing is for sure. The tension between referees, players - and now media - continues to grow. Was it really necessary to fire back at FiveThirtyEight? Was it necessary to call it “fake news?” Both the refs and the writers at FiveThirtyEight work hard ... and make mistakes. They’re all human.

This just doesn’t seem necessary. Almost like the Last Two Minute reports to begin with.