The talk of the National Basketball Association, or "No Balls Association" as Bill Simmons calls it, is the absolutely horrendous officiating that is taking place in these NBA Playoffs. I can not remember a time in my life that it has been as bad as it is now. For years we have seen bad officiating in all sports, not just basketball. But I don't think we've ever seen it this bad.
Now let us first understand that Basketball is by far the hardest sport to official out of any of the four majors: Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey. And it's not even close.
Baseball it is pretty standard. The ball beats the guy to the base and he is out. The ball goes over the fence and it is a home run. Baseball is as black and white as it gets, and now with the installation of replays for home runs, I do not foresee as many questionable calls this year.
Football and Hockey are a little more gray but still pretty standard. In football, a guy jumps over the line, he is offside. Offensive linemen moves before the snap, it's a false start. The only real gray area is with Pass Interference, and I myself will admit that it might be the single toughest call to make in sports. In Hockey, a guy crosses the blue line before the puck he's offside. We get it.
However, none of these sports even come close to the difficulty level of officiating a basketball game. Can you name me one call that actually is black and white in the NBA? Every single violation or call that can be made can be challenged or questioned. So it is no wonder why the NBA has been the most terribly officiated sport of the past 20 years.
Take Sunday night's game between Cleveland and Orlando, for instance. This game was by far the worst officiated game of the entire NBA season in my opinion.
The game saw a combined 98 FG attempts. Ok, Pretty normal. But the next two numbers are completely outrageous. Combined, the two teams launched up 43 three point field goals, so you would think that this would have resulted in less drives to the basket, which in-turn would result in less fouls called, which in-turn would result in less free throws, right? That's just how basketball works right?
Well how bout the combined free throws being 86. Eighty-six! Are you kidding me? Someone please comment and tell me how that makes any sort of relevant sense. Add that to 58 personal fouls, two technical fouls, and a flagrant foul and we have the whistle blowing 60 times just on fouls!
We see all these advertisements and commercials about the leagues best players: Kobe, LeBron, Dwight, Carmelo, Chauncey Billups, Pau Gasol. The list goes on and on. Hell, I even wrote an article just on the commercials for Kobe and LeBron, so you know I'm into it.
So why don't we let these athletes and marketable figures actually decide the outcomes of these games instead of letting aging referees (Yes, I'm talking about you Dick Bavetta, Joey Crawford, Bennet Salvatore) determine the outcome of these crucial playoff matchups. Your going to tell me 125-year-old Dick Bavetta can still keep up with 24 year old Lebron James at full speed. His eyes haven't gone awry just a little bit?
David Stern are you listening? The NBA needs to reevaluate it's officials. We need newer, younger officials who are submerged in the new game, the new style of basketball being played today.
I'm sick and tired of seeing Dwight Howard stand with his hands straight up in the air and alter a shot, but to no surprise I hear a whistle for a foul. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant can pump fake, get a guy in the air, then jump four feet to the right while a defender purposely tries to get out of the way and he draws a foul. It's unreal.
For the NBA Playoffs sake, for the fans sake, for everyone's sake...we desperately need improved officiating.