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League says officiating this season no different than last year

Feb 6, 2012, 7:59 PM EDT

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Mark Cuban came out and said what many have whispered this season — the officiating is worse. Then Cuban got fined for it and you realized why others were whispering it.

But in a season of sloppy play and games by the players, the officials felt like they were part of that trend. Nobody is getting enough rest, everything is compacted and everybody is missing plays. Or in this case, calls.

But the league disputes that, as they told David Aldridge of

“There has been no material change from last year in incorrect calls,” NBA President of League and Basketball Operations Joel Litvin said by telephone Sunday. “I think the total number of fouls called per game has gone down slightly. Accuracy wise, we’re monitoring that. It has not changed. Compared to prior seasons, season to date, it’s the same. I haven’t compared it to end of season. They’re not complaining about it much, and at a game (more) per month, it’s not a big difference. And fortunately we haven’t had the uptick in injuries that we’ve seen on the players’ side.”

According to Litvin, officials are working, on a four-week average, approximately 10.8 games, up slightly from the average of 9.6 games per four weeks they worked last season. (On average, teams are playing about two games more per week in the 66-games-in-four-months schedule.)

Some of this is always eye of the beholder — one day people think the refs are great, the next day terrible, all on how some borderline calls went at the end of the game. It’s the way of the world. To me things have seemed rougher around the edges with the officials this season, but I don’t have hard and fast data to back that up.

But the league looks at everything and they are defending their guys.

  1. sasquash20 - Feb 6, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Yeah the refs still let players travel, palm the ball, and if your a superstar push off. What a joke

  2. bearsstillsuck - Feb 6, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Maybe the players are just playing extra sloppy since they’re playing so much. Can we at least give the refs the benefit of the doubt before we trash them?

  3. tomshoe - Feb 6, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Yeah right. The refs have to protect their bets, too.

  4. goforthanddie - Feb 6, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    League says officiating this season no different than last year

    That doesn’t mean officiating = good.

  5. glink123 - Feb 7, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    “Accuracy wise, we’re monitoring that. It has not changed. Compared to prior seasons, season to date, it’s the same.” — Violet Palmer. Enough said.

  6. delius1967 - Feb 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Read “Personal Foul” by Tim Donaghy and you’ll find it hard to ever take basketball seriously again. There’s no way to know for certain if he’s telling the truth or CYing his A, but it certainly rings true. All those questionable calls in big games that you wondered about later on — he covers a lot of them. Donaghy doesn’t spare himself, either, so it doesn’t come across as an sort of referee apologetica. It is a very interesting book, though unfortunately the writing is about at the level of a teenaged girl’s diary; if Donaghy had a ghost writer he should demand his money back.

    Bottom line, refereeing in basketball is so subjective that even if the referees were completely honest and above-the-board, virtually every game could be made to go one way or another. I sometimes wish basketball had the equivalent of tennis’ Cyclops and Hawk-Eye systems.

    What I find humorous is when fans or announcers complain that referees don’t just “let them play” in tight game situations. When the game is on the line, it seems to me that it would be better for the referees to be as exacting as possible when enforcing the rules to avoid any favoritism.

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