As the 2009 NBA Playoffs continue, referees are faced with the pressure of trying to make the right calls all the time.
However, basketball, as simply as it seems at times, can be extremely controversial when it comes to officiating.
Sometimes, a call can affect the outcome of a game; sometimes it can affect the outcome of an entire series.
Granted that the NBA has tried to be fairer by adding instant review and suspension policies, some calls just are plain hard to call. Here are my top most inconsistent calls to be officiated during an NBA basketball game.
NBA is an entertainment sport league, so some rules are bent to provide the entertainment.
One rule is traveling.
An on-going debate, traveling is known to be an inconsistent call in NBA. Sometimes, a player is allowed three steps, as suppose to two steps, on a lay-up or dunk attempt. There are times when a player goes for four steps and there are no calls. Sometimes, the correct call is made.
The inconsistency on this call has enraged many players and critics, but it also provided some humorous results, like LeBron James' term "Crab Dribble".
This call is perhaps the most devastating call for a team or a player in foul trouble.
Since the focus of the game is always on the ball, sometimes players do things that are unacceptable away from the ball, or when attempting to get the ball.
However, this call's inconsistency has led to turnovers and even arguments/fights.
Again, there are always humorous side to it - "Shaq-Attack". The San Antonio Spurs used it in the playoff series against Phoenix Suns last year in the playoffs, and it virtually became a free-throw practice for Shaquille O'Neal.
Technical foul was designed to keep the players' composure during a competitive and intensive basketball game.
However, throughout the years, this call has become more and more inconsistent. Worst of all, two technical fouls in a game results in an automatic ejections, so this call is quite significant in affecting a player's attitude and aggressiveness.
Players are called technical for hanging on the rim after a dunk, for shouting something that is deemed inappropriate, for taunting other players, for having inappropriate number of players on the court, for leaving the bench area during a fight, and the worst of all, for laughing on the bench.
Fine, maybe the last one was exceptional, which happened only once to Tim Duncan, who was assessed two technical fouls for laughing on the bench, thus being ejected.
Flagrant fouls are called to penalize those who perform an non-sportsmanship-like foul, which could very easily lead to injuries.
NBA has further added Flagrant 1 and 2 to separate the severity of the fouls. However, the NBA is a physical game, so hard fouls can, just as easily, lead to injuries.
Sometimes, the fine line between a hard foul and a flagrant foul can be very misleading. Worst yet, those off-ball flagrant fouls are not as easily observed by officials, which add to the inconsistency.
Yes the NBA can now suspend players after reviewing the play after each game, but as seen in Kobe Bryant's situation, his elbow in Ron Artest's neck in Game 2 resulted in a flagrant one after the game, but it is absolutely meaningless.
Similarly, Ron Artest was assessed a Flagrant two for a hard foul on Pau Gasol, while Derek Fisher was given the same foul for "checking" Luis Scola in the previous game. It is just too inconsistent.
The hardest call in the NBA, by far, is probably blocking/charging foul, a difference in offensive/defensive foul.
This call can lead to a big momentum swing, or perhaps even affect the outcome of a game.
Players who react to these calls can lead to technical fouls or even ejections.
This call is very hard to officiate, and players and coaches alike always argue on the call. This is by far the most inconsistent call in the NBA simply because it is very hard to judge.