The Refereeing in the NBA Finals

I watched Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals, and I was dismayed by the refereeing. The officiating in Game 4 was so lop-sided that the game stopped being enjoyable to watch.

Apparently, I’m not the only one.

From TV, to Podcasts, to magazines, to the internet (SB Nation, Bleacher Report, etc), people are talking about the refereeing in this NBA Finals series. Which is too bad. Because this series is legendary. LeBron James is so very good. Durant is unbelievable and classy. Wade, Westbrook, and so many others on each team. This is a fantastic finals series. It is tragic that the refereeing has been so distracting.

Late in Game 3, LeBron is wide open for a baseline three-pointer, which he buries… but it was a blatant moving screen that left him so open. No call.

In this clip, LeBron shoves Harden twice and then slams into Harden. Harden is called for the foul.

In this clip, LeBron fouls Durant, no call. Then LeBron fouls Westbrook, no call. Then LeBron travels after the rebound. This exact play happened earlier, with LeBron as the shooter, and Oklahoma on defense, and a foul was called on the Thunder.

This guy studied a tape of a Miami – Dallas game and charted the refereeing. Whew. Nothing terribly incriminating. But the refs seem to favor Miami.

Again, it’s too bad that the refereeing has been suspect at times. LeBron is the best in the world. Oklahoma is so exciting to watch.

Side point: in 2007, ESPN magazine did a thorough story on refereeing in the NBA. It’s a tough job. And a controversial one.


One comment

  1. It seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Thank you for a well-written, well documented presentation. I wonder if there is a panel or governing body they have to answer to? And the question now is, Why? What kind of pressures (or money) brought about these bad calls?

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