The NBA Official L2M (last two minutes) report from the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers game revealed that the NBA refs are doing really well, as long as they get 12 hours to re-watch the things that happened in front of them.
In the post game press conference with Rick Carlisle on Saturday night, he said “I’m not gonna spend $50,000 to criticize; that just doesn’t make sense.” This is pretty much a perfect summation of the final minutes of the Dallas Mavericks game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
When asked about the same concerns with the NBA’s inability to ref in the final minutes of the game, Seth Curry had a similar response. “They didn’t make a call they should’ve made.” Although Curry is technically right, the actual response should have been: they didn’t make three calls they should’ve made.
In the official L2M report that the NBA Officials release the morning after each game, the league goes back through the final two minutes of each game and critique any calls that they may have missed. It is the perfect way for the NBA to act like they are doing something to fix a serious problem without actually doing anything.
Honestly, I like the idea of reviewing these missed calls and doing what needs to be done in order to make the game the best it can be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually seem like things are changing. The issues are being addressed and then forgotten almost immediately.
In the L2M report from the Mavs vs. Lakers game, the NBA addressed three missed calls in the final two minutes, all of which favored the Los Angeles Lakers. I am not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but that is a little too one-sided to be a coincidence, in my opinion. If you ask me, the NBA actually missed four calls in those final two minutes, but they had to stand by the refs poor judgment on at least one of them.
The first missed call was actually not addressed by the refs intentionally. The report says the call was made correctly on the court, but what they said happened and what actually happened are different. After Luka was bludgeoned in the back of the head by Dwight Howard (which the refs managed to miss, presumably because they thought they saw the number 23 instead of 39), the ball was passed forward to Seth who was then tied up and a jump ball was called.
The jump ball was called for Seth and Anthony Davis, an 8-inch difference in height. In the report, it actually says that Avery Bradley tied up Seth, not AD. Bradley and Seth are the same height. Safe to say that jump ball was impacted just a little bit by the missed call. This led directly to a bucket from the Lakers that put them ahead by 1.
The second missed call came with 14 seconds left in the game. Luka grabbed the rebound on a missed shot from Bradley and was intentionally fouled by AD. The call wasn’t made and the Mavs were forced to push the ball across the half-court line where LeBron James fouled Dwight Powell instead. Even though Luka hasn’t been a perfect free throw shooter, he is much better than Powell at the charity stripe.
This missed call is another game changer, although not nearly as blatant as the other two. It’s unclear what may have happened had Luka gone to the line instead of Dwight, but it is definitely something to think about.
The last missed call is the obvious one that everyone knows about at this point. Dwight Howard tried to set a back screen on Seth Curry to free up Danny Green in the corner, but Curry read the play easily. Recognizing that the play would be dead if Curry got through, Dwight acted instinctively and grabbed on to Curry to slow him down. It worked perfectly as Green got the shot off and the refs all looked straight up at the ceiling to avoid having to explain the missed call.
Obviously there were plenty of issues with this game that did not all stem from the refereeing, but when three badly missed calls all favor one team in less than two minutes of action, questions have to be asked. Regardless, the Mavs need to forget about that game and move onto the next one…even if I can’t just yet.