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Report: League is reviewing several controversial calls from Pacers’ Game 4 win over Heat

May 29, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT

LeBron James, Derrick Stafford

As with most closely contested games this deep into the NBA playoffs, there were plenty of calls made by the officials in the Pacers’ Game 4 win over the Heat that could be argued depending on which side of the proverbial fence you happen to be sitting on.

Some others, however, were either objectively incorrect, or allowed to go on without a whistle from the referees.

There seemed to be more of these types of calls than usual in this one, and that may be why the league is reportedly taking a closer look at multiple plays from Game 4 to see exactly what took place.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

NBA officials are looking at several controversial calls in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals as they sift through the fallout from the Pacers’ 99-92 victory on Tuesday night, league sources told CBSSports.com.

The most obvious missed call was a blown 24-second call against the Pacers by crew chief Joe Crawford with 8:26 left in the third quarter. Replays showed that Roy Hibbert‘s attempt hit the rim, which should’ve resulted in the shot clock resetting. The Pacers were leading 81-72 at the time, and Miami subsequently went on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 83-83.

The non-call on the 24-second violation was obvious. But there were several others:

- After LeBron James came out essentially in favor of using flopping to gain an advantage, there were two blatant flops in Game 4 that are deserving of punishment. There was a double-flop on the same play where both James and David West exaggerated contact when the two collided. Nothing was called by the officials.

The other egregious acting job was pulled off by Lance Stephenson, who tried to convince a nearby official that Ray Allen had caught him with an elbow to the head. The referees weren’t buying that one, either.

- James fouled out on what was ruled an illegal screen with 56 seconds left. A look at the replay shows that James stuck out his leg to try to slow Stephenson, so this one appears to be legit, as it’s a tripping foul if nothing else. James said afterward that he thought he was “straight-up” on an and-one play that was converted by Paul George, but that was similar to a block/charge call that could have gone either way, and isn’t likely to draw any ire from the league office. But since James fouling out is an extremely rare occurrence, the league may look closely at his postgame comments to determine if a fine is in order for criticizing the officiating, even though nothing he said was all that inflammatory.

- With 26 seconds remaining, Dwyane Wade was called for traveling on a play that was questionable at best. A point of emphasis for the officials this year was to watch for players lifting both feet before initiating the dribble, which Wade might have been guilty of on this play. But that’s not when the travel was called; it came after the step-back move that appeared to be perfectly legal.

It isn’t great that the officiating is in the spotlight here, especially as we approach a critical Game 5. But it’s a positive that the league is al least reviewing the questionable calls that took place, and we’ll have to wait and  see if it makes any difference in how things are officiated on Thursday.

  1. caeser12 - May 29, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    So it only took until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, for the League to “review” its officiating. Yea that sounds about right. Proceed.

  2. udogg - May 29, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Time for an important point. I just saw the final foul on Lebron again on ESPN. It appears that Lebron not only deliberately tried to trip Stephenson, it looks like he intentionally steps on Stephenson’s foot to trip him.

    You’ve got to see a clean replay, but it is definitely there.

  3. mattryannolan - May 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    See the problem is with the ESPN sportcenter storm where they just constantly replay the same things over and over things get magnified to the point where it becomes stupid. In every game since the beginning of time there have been missed calls maybe if we didn’t put more pressure on the refs than the players we’d see smoother called games and remember that this is a sport and human play it and ref it. It’s easy to be perfect when you’re on your couch in your home or watch every play 100000 times.

    Just let the kids play. Bad calls will happen and good calls will. Bottom line Heat need to make more shots and this wouldn’t be an issue of missed calls. Make your shots. That’s basketball.

  4. jhuck92 - May 29, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    After every Heat loss, their fans call for the referee’s head. It never fails. Let’s talk about how they shot only 39% and how their bench was almost a non-factor.

  5. obetmoh - May 29, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    remove Lebron and the game would be fine. no hard fouls, not so physical, but boring one. is this what u want miami haters? play quality basketball and Indy will not win.

  6. canehouse - May 29, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Joey Crawford was an embarassment to the fringe / bubble / casual NBA fan… after watching him and his band of whistle happy, partially blind, and drooling rube lackeys… most of them were probably wondering if the WWE had purchased the rights to the NBA and were using creative stroylines of the ref looking the other way to create more drama. What a joke Crawford is / was.

  7. leprekan - May 30, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    There shouldn’t be any fines for flopping unless the league fines D. Wade for his ridiculous flop in game 3. I’m guessing that they are going to cop out of it by saying it wasn’t actually a flop because it didn’t draw a whistle. The most questionable calls were the 24 shot clock miss and the travel call on Wade. I also think it’s funny that LeBron believes he didn’t commit 4 of his 6 personal fouls. I think he needs to be fined just for being a whiny baby.

  8. kavika6 - May 30, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    If league officials are unbiased Lebron should have at least two different fines. But I don’t expect it will happen.

  9. lemfaxx - May 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    FACT: if the game is close in less than two minutes left in the game you could rely on the ref:)

  10. lemfaxx - May 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    So far series controlled by the pacers unless eric can do some big adjustments

  11. rtfinch - May 30, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Why does this have to be on the officials? Why cant the players do their jobs? The refs have to call it tightly because the bulls/heat got out of hand, and last year the heat/pacers got out of hand. Why can’t the players play hard physical clean basketball then after the game shower and get ready for the next one. Hard fouls and trash talk are part of sports and have been forever, stop acting like a 12 year old and throwing a fit and retaliating when something doesn’t go your way

  12. mjhutmkr - May 30, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Too much crying from the heat crybabies: James, Bosh and the thug Wade??

    that’s okay Stern’s already “fixed” the NBA Finals to be a match up just to prostitute NBA ratings to justify TV contract.

  13. vstar1us - May 30, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    I think all NBA players are cry babies, it is a game someone will get hit and someone like James will try to flop! That just makes him a average player that uses flopping to help his game.
    Guys just shut up and play the game, just play the game.

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