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Winderman: League needs to clarify questionable calls for all teams, not just the Heat

Jan 12, 2012, 10:47 PM EDT

Miami Heat James smiles after making a basket against Charlotte Bobcats during their NBA game in Charlotte Reuters

By now you’ve read how @NBAOfficial confirmed what was apparent from the moment LeBron James went in six different directions (with six different steps) after giving up his dribble late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Clippers:

That he traveled before he received a bailout foul call, one that enabled him to hit one of two foul shots and force the game to the extra period.

The outcry was immediate and widespread. And accurate.

It was an unavoidable controversy for the NBA. So the league quickly quieted it by posting, “Yes, LeBron should’ve been called for traveling on this play last night.”

Case closed?

Uh, not quite.

Go ahead, click on @NBAOfficial on Twitter and you’ll notice exactly two posts (as of this posting) through the first three weeks of the NBA season.

The first came in reference to a jump stop by the Heat’s Dwyane Wade on a game-winning shot in Charlotte. The post: “Was Wade’s game winner legal? Yes.”

The account’s second post showed up midday Thursday.

So, apparently, either there have been only two questionable calls this season, or @NBAOfficial is the league’s official watchdog of the Miami Heat.

Here’s the point: Of course Heat games are going to draw a higher degree of scrutiny. They draw a higher degree of interest.

But how can a league scrutinize only what the media, the blogosphere and passionate fans demand be addressed?

If you’re going to reassess calls after the fact, which actually is a darned good idea, then assess ’em all, or at least the ones that require a second look.

But a league can’t create a Twitter account that, apparently, has a sole function of addressing the sole issue of:

Did you see what the Miami Heat got away with last night?!

Sure LeBron walked. He seemed to have three pivot feet on the play, if that is even anatomically possible.

But there also was an issue with James’ late foul on Chauncey Billups while Billups was attempting a 3-pointer.

And question of whether a DeAndre Jordan block should have been a goaltend.

For years, the notion in the NBA has been that superstars are officiated differently. Yet speak privately to referees and they’ll tell you that the remarkable athleticism of those stars often can make what looks like a foul or violation actually into a clean play.

LeBron’s fancy footwork did a number on the officials Wednesday.

The league cleaned that up rather quickly Thursday.

But what about every other questionable call around the league Wednesday?

Where are those addressed?

Or does there have to be an @NBAOfficialForTheRestOfTheLeague?

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

  1. mgscott - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Watch out for those Cavaliers

  2. mlblogsbig3bosox - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    “So, apparently, either there have been only two questionable calls this season, or @NBAOfficial is the league’s official watchdog of the Miami Heat.”

    Really? I thought you were the official watchdog of the Miami Heat. Smh.

    • BrownsTown - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM


  3. coldyron - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    Kurt Helin didn’t write this article, that’s why it is fair and sensible to teams not named the Heat or Lakers.

  4. toxicity187 - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Winderman and an article defending the heat (lebron-he left the cavs to to follow lebron), is it even possible!?! Why even post it?

    Truth is not just the heat, but yes mainly the heat. NBA basketball is influenced by ref calls at a high rate. A foul here, no call there, game is close and outcomes destined. Only the Mavs being SUPER in the finals gave them a championship, and LeBron not showing up in the 4th of course, refs couldn’t help that lol.

    Take even the Heat game vs Wolves (i live in MN) and Bron bully balled in the last minute and he got an And 1. BS Only Bron can knock a man down in position and get a foul on them unbelieveable. The Heat will win the championship this season WITH or with out (they are good) the leagues help. it’s sad.

    Thats one thing i love about college, it’s for the most part unadultrated, Star or scrub, a foul is a foul and a good take is a good take. Put college refs in the NBA and people would enjoy it more.

    NBA is a marketing money maker “show”. NBA meets WWF (Stern/McMahon partnership lol) is reality tv.

  5. opshuns - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    That game was pathetic. I realize the Heat will win the championship, but please don’t make it obvious.

  6. kidneystoner - Jan 13, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    I would still like someone to explain why D-Wade wasn’t called out of bounds on on his game saving save after the LeBron missed the free throw on the play before this travel. He clearly had his hand on DeAndre Jordan’s shoulder while Jordan was out of bounds. The rule is, if you’re touching anything (in this case another player) out of bounds, you are considered to be out of bounds whether your feet have touched down or not. What really bothers me is that the officials checked this on their tiny little replay screen and still didnt see this.

    • gv1221 - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      The ball hit the line after it went off DAJ’s hand. so…. that is irrelevant.

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