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Winderman: NBA should adopt NHL’s “hockey central” foul review

Apr 30, 2012, 12:01 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Miami Heat - Game One Getty Images

No sooner did the forearms of Tyson Chandler meet the force of LeBron James then the referees in Game 1 of Heat-Knicks huddled to come up with what has been the consensus answer for flagrant fouls this season: Assume the worst and allow the video to sort it out.

With all Flagrant Foul 2 calls subject to video review, it has become the easy way out.

Call it a Flagrant 1 and play continues, without review. But rule it a Flagrant 2, which Danny Crawford certainly knew it wasn’t, and you not only can downgrade it to a Flagrant 1, but downgrade it to a mere personal foul, as well.

The reality was Chandler was never at risk for automatic Flagrant 2 ejection. Crawford knew it; Chandler knew it.

But to have to go through with the courtside charade is a bit much.

What the NBA needs is go to the NHL’s “hockey central” approach, where all video issues are handled from the central league office by someone who can assess the issue without the emotion of being on scene, alongside peering players and combustible coaches, in front of frenzied fans.

Beyond that, there would be a single standard for all such flagrant-foul determinations, not what Dan Crawford is feeling in Miami, Joey Crawford is feeling in L.A. or Scott Foster is feeling in San Antonio.

It also would speed play to a degree that shot-clock issues and other re-settable timing issues, or even 3-point judgments, could be handled as play is continuing, rather during ensuing stoppages courtside.

With the NHL, there is one voice nightly in Toronto on what is and isn’t a goal.

With almost no overlap of NBA games in the postseason, such timing and judgment issues could be handled by even higher authorities in the league’s New York office rather than by exhausted officials who work without the opportunity to rest their feet.

Heck, have David Stern handle it from his couch.

Particularly with flagrant fouls, decisions that have to be made in the moment, a uniform league standard would level the playing field, when even an NBA neophyte can recognize that some officials are better than others, some more prone to eject than others.

When it comes to ejections, as it is with suspensions, why not handle all such matters from the league office, and allow the referees to sort out more mundane issues, like block-charge?

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 @IraHeatBeat.

  1. diablito0402 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Lbj is such a dramatic flop artist, come on. My 4 year old could take a tougher hit than that and get up quickly….

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Who was ejected? Ira Winderbag back at it again.

    • pudgalvin - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      The funny part about this is Lebron thought he was real tough setting a couple of these screens on guys half his size earlier in the season against C.J. Watson and John Lucas III. Then he gets one and he acts like his head is in danger of falling off his body.

      • southbeachtalent - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        yea hilarious!

        Heat 100
        Knicks 67


      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        diabilito’s 4 year old can take two forearms directly in the upper back from a 7’1 280 pound man at a good rate of speed and get up quickly?

        And pudgalvin- LBJ’s pick was completely still. Chandler’s was full-on, moving, forearm push. And I don’t remember him acting so much as I remember him going Keyser Soze from that point on, completely scorching the earth. They shouldn’t have made him mad

      • pudgalvin - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        Wrong. His pick on Lucas was still, his pick on Watson was the exact same thing that happened to him.

      • hgulkkcaj - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        First of all, Chandler is only 240 lbs, not 280.

        Secondly, you call this a “good rate of speed”? C’mon. Chandler had already planted his feet and he leaned into Lebron. Don’t pretend like he had a running start at Lebron. He flopped and you know it.

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    James should be suspended for what he did Saturday.

    • gmen4life33 - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Pathetic that the face of the league acts like that. He flopped out of bounds to get a call against Shumpert (no contact), acted like Chandler killed him, and then fell to the ground when Melo put his arm on him. Dude is like 300 punds of muscle and acts like Reggie Miller. Pathetic



      Knicks did not deserve to win, but the officiating was horrible and extremely pro Lebron (not even pro Heat, just Lebron). Dude flares his hands and yells and its an automatic foul. Pathetic.

      • drunkenjunk - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        All this flopping and complaining will make him choking in the Finals so much sweeter.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      You and everyone else would love that wouldn’t you. Suspend him for hmmm I don’t know maybe the rest of the play-offs? Yea sounds about right.

      Dream on buddy…

      LETS GO HEAT!!

      • gmen4life33 - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        i said technical foul/fine. how does that mean suspend? can you guys read in Miami?

  3. hgulkkcaj - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    I wonder if Lebron gets made fun of by his peers or is embarassed at all by the dives he was taking on Saturday? I’m guessing he just doesn’t care, and is probably actually proud that he was able to con the refs into giving him calls that aren’t deserved?

    I know a lot of guys do it around the league, but LBJ’s performance on Saturday is only going to turn more and more fans away from the NBA. If it wasn’t for the fact that my T’Wolves actually have a chance to be a good team someday with Rubio & Love, the flopping around the league would completely turn me off from the NBA.

  4. glink123 - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    LeBwan. lol.

  5. asuthyo - Apr 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    It’s idiotic (and shows your blatant hatred) to compare Chandler’s screen to Lebron’s two screens against the Bulls. Chandler literally leaps into Lebron with his forearms high while Lebron had his back turned to him. Lebron kind of leaned into Watson and just stood tough against Lucas (neither time did he raise his forearms to their upper body).

    • drunkenjunk - Apr 30, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      except Bron and Chandler are the same size. Yea, Bron is shorter but they weigh the same. His picks were on two dude that are so much smaller and lighter than him. They also didn’t flop around like whiny little b%^#@^$ after the contact.

  6. comeonnowguys - May 1, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    The last thing they need to do is copy anything hockey is doing right now in terms of handling punishment.

    A guy gets (rightfully) suspended 25 games for a hit near center ice, but wasn’t even given a penalty at the time it happened. That same ref was allowed to blow a similar call in the following round.

    They allow flopping and theatrics (much like Lebrons, who could barely stifle a smile as he was running around the court) to increase penalties and coaches playing games with injury reports to influence their decisions to increase suspensions.

    The Weber fiasco goes without further mention past its inclusion here.

    The hockey officiating is as close to NBA officiating as I have seen in a long time–and that’s not good.

  7. philtration - May 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    If you want to be like Hockey then any team called for a flagrant foul has to play short handed for several minutes.
    A little 5 on 4 will end the nonsense.

    • comeonnowguys - May 1, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      I kinda like that. Except for when Lebron flops and gets the nonsense calls he gets.

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