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NBA Reportedly Investigating Controversial Calls from Heat-Pacers Game 4

May 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) plays defense against the Indiana Pacers in game four of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2013

Turns out the NBA believes LeBron James may have a point.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the league is investigating a number of controversial calls officials made in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals:

NBA officials are looking at several controversial calls in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals as they sift through the fallout from the Pacers' 99-92 victory on Tuesday night, league sources told CBSSports.com.

...

On the play that resulted in LeBron James' sixth foul, an illegal screen against Lance Stephenson with 56 seconds left, the league's preliminary review substantiates the call. James stuck his left leg outside his stance to impede Stephenson's movement around the screen.

But on an earlier foul called on James when George drove for a layup and converted a three-point play with 5:38 remaining, James appeared on replay review to have a point in his postgame assertion that he established position on the baseline and went straight up for a legal defensive play.

Though James' sixth foul call has been vetted and supported by the Association, there's a possibility that it shouldn't have been his sixth foul at all. His play on Paul George's layup earlier in the fourth quarter was ruled a foul when James himself believes he went straight up.

"I believe I was straight up-and-down on Paul George's drive—the and-one," he said after the game (via Berger).

In addition to reviewing what was James' fourth foul, the NBA will also be taking a look at the 24-second shot-clock violation that went against the Indiana Pacers in the third quarter.

Replays revealed that Roy Hibbert's shot attempt hit the rim, which should have resulted in the clock resetting. The Miami Heat were instead awarded possession and proceeded to go on a 14-2 run to take a three-point lead. 

Berger writes that the league will also be looking into David West's foul on Dwyane Wade inside of six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. West was called for the foul while Wade was attempting a layup. Wade completed a three-point play to give Miami an 86-83 lead, but the league wants to see if the contact was excessive enough to warrant a flagrant foul.

The traveling violation that was called against Wade with 26 seconds remaining and the Heat trailing 96-92 is also under review.

It remains unclear whether James will be fined for his postgame comments about the officiating.

The NBA is certainly under some heat. Any one of these calls could have shifted the momentum and therefore swayed the outcome of the entire game. 

Admitting the officials made mistakes does little at this point, though. No matter what the league concludes, we'll never really know if the game would have ended any differently.

 

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