Game 4’s battle at the Garden resulted in yet another Celtics-Heat instant classic. LeBron James propelled the game into overtime with a big three at the end of regulation, and Dwyane Wade missed a clean look at the buzzer that would’ve given Miami the 3-1 series lead. Underneath all the excitement and spectacular play though, there was a very visible blemish on the outcome of the game in the form of excessive offensive foul calls. More specifically, charges.
Twelve offensive fouls were dealt out throughout the course of the game. Two of which resulted in stars Paul Pierce and LeBron James fouling out in pivotal moments of the fourth and overtime periods, respectively. The officials had a clear, negative impact on the game.
Sunday night was yet another example of why the league needs to eliminate the charge.
Its extreme subjectivity and influence on the game make it hard to officiate and even harder to like as a fan.
The NBA’s elimination of the rule would come with several benefits, too. It would solve the block/charge dispute, remove a vast majority of flops and flop attempts, and, over time, would produce more layups and dunks, and less fouls and clock stoppage.
Just to clarify, eliminating the charge does not mean that all offensive fouls should be done away with as well. If anything, this change would give referees the ability to focus on the other types of offensive fouls more closely. Off-arms, lowered shoulders, moving screens, player control fouls and the like would all receive more attention. This would allow referees to officiate the plays more firmly and accurately.
Obviously banning the charge would put referees in quite a predicament for the foreseeable future. They would have decide whether to call a block or refrain from blowing their whistle, but the end result would be more free-flowing basketball and fewer game-changing fouls.
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