Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a blowout—the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers never stood a chance against a superstar crew featuring Joey Crawford, Rodney Mott and Derrick Stafford Tuesday night.
It's likely that nothing major comes of the review, but at least the league is attempting to show some sort of accountability on the issue.
We can pick this one up before the most egregious 24-second violation in recent memory, going back a short jaunt with a timeout call from Erik Spoelstra—or was it?
Official Derrick Stafford just forced Spoelstra to call a timeout because he was standing on court calling a play. Never seen that.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 29, 2013
Spo was calling a play, but Stafford decided he was too far out on the court, so he concluded that it was a timeout.
The highlight of the night, however, was a blown shot-clock violation call with just over eight minutes left in the game.
After David West very clearly hit the rim with a baseline jumper, a rebound and a layup from Tyler Hansbrough should have put Indiana up by 11 points—only the shot clock was never reset.
Crawford sprinted in from half court to make the call, giving the ball to the Heat.
No problem, right? Just go review the call and move on. Only that review never came, leading to a complete Twitter explosion.
Hate talking about officiating, but that shot clock violation was one of the worst high-leverage calls you'll see. Just terrible.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 29, 2013
Joey Crawford literally just stole two points from the Pacers.— Royce Young (@dailythunder) May 29, 2013
Joey Crawford looked like Benny Hill calling that 24-second violation.— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) May 29, 2013
Is that on the refs or the timekeeper?— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) May 29, 2013
From there the momentum shifted over to Miami and the Heat went on a 13-2 run to tie the game up. Can you blame the call? Probably not, but it certainly didn't help the Pacers.
At this point, the country was taking notice, and the anger was palpable.
"Terrible call" "Joey Crawford" and "David Stern" all trending in the US. Welcome to the NBA Playoffs.— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) May 29, 2013
I don't know that I've agreed with a whistle in the last six calls.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) May 29, 2013
Joey Crawford gotta go...— Roy Burton (@TheBSLine) May 29, 2013
Later, a ball deflected out of bounds by Ray Allen was given to the Heat. There's no way they can screw this one up, right?
Refs really should've asked West, he swears he didn't touch it— Brendan Bowers (@BowersCLE) May 29, 2013
Does anyone have confidence that Joey Crawford is even watching the right channel?— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 29, 2013
With the trend of this game, you can pretty much guess that Crawford concluded that he was right on the initial call—Miami ball.
In a desire to balance things out, a few calls went against Miami when the Pacers retook the lead, only these came at the end of the game when Miami was on the verge of attempting to finish things off.
LeBron James was called for a moving screen (no seriously, they really called a moving screen) for his sixth foul with just under a minute left.
There was contact, but it seemed to be more that Lance Stephenson tripped, rather than James knocking him down.
David Stern's refs made an awful call on LeBron, fouling him out. I feel like The Geto Boys because my Mind Playing Tricks on Me— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 29, 2013
Cannot believe they called that as LeBron's sixth and final foul.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 29, 2013
A travel call on Dwyane Wade happened 30 seconds later, and the game was decided. Thankfully, we had one last video replay to figure out following a deflection, giving us this beauty:
Joey Crawford at the scorer's table watching video of Joey Crawford. This surprises no one. twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 29, 2013
Of course, there were two great things to come from this game.
By the way, Mike Bantom, the league's VP in charge of supervising officiating, is at the game tonight. So, fun trip for him.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 29, 2013
Not only that, but the referees were so visibly poor that there's really no way to spin this toward a conspiracy theory, unless the conspiracy is that David Stern's referees are attempting to ruin perfectly good basketball games.
The conspiracy theorists don't even understand what they think about this one. The NBA wants...Stern wants ...What? This? @bomani_jones— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) May 29, 2013
Despite the foul trouble, it was a much more exciting contest than Game 3. I'll take Game 4 over that every time.