Posted June 19, 2013

Video: Spurs drop Game 6 to Heat after two debatable no-calls in final seconds

2013 NBA Finals, Miami Heat, Rob Mahoney, San Antonio Spurs
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chris Bosh was not whistled for a foul on this potential game-tying attempt from Danny Green with less than a second remaining. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Almost every competitive NBA game features blown calls and costly no-calls, errors which are only magnified in games of greater import. It should go without saying, then, that a hotly contested Game 6 in the NBA Finals that came down to an overtime period and a string of clutch plays would have its officiating warts. Joey Crawford, Mike Callahan and Ken Mauer made some mistakes on Tuesday night, and two no-calls in particular — both of which would have resulted in crucial free throws for San Antonio — have drawn attention in both the waning moments of Game 6 and its analytical wake.

The first such play came with just a few seconds remaining in overtime, shortly after the Spurs had collected a rebound and pushed the ball upcourt to contest the Heat’s one-point lead. With Tony Parker subbed out of the game, Manu Ginobili took control of the possession and looked to create off the dribble. After gathering the ball near the three-point line, Ginobili attempted to push past Ray Allen to the rim, but lost control after Allen appeared to make contact with Ginobili’s right arm:

This is as difficult a play to officiate in real time as you’re likely to find, in that Ginobili is obscured from most every angle by the glut of Heat defenders around him. He hunches over to protect the ball on his drive, and because of the cover it’s difficult to tell whether Allen actually fouls Ginobili when watching the play at full speed — and that’s with the beneficial viewpoint of an above-court camera. The play seems a bit more cut and dry when viewed in slow motion from the baseline angle, as Allen appears to dislodge the ball by way of striking Ginobili’s arm.

That said, Ginobili manages to move — while contested, mind you — from the three-point line into the deep paint without a single dribble. Ginobili’s footwork is exceptionally clever in general, but in this case he mistimes his gather and commits an unwhistled traveling violation:

The specific wording of the traveling rule, for reference, comes courtesy of the NBA’s 2012-13 official rules (Rule 10, Section XIII, item b):

“A player… upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball …

The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.”

So on this single play, we find a clear missed foul and a clear missed travel. That’s a wash of no-calls, I suppose. Spurs fans are right to be grumpy about the lack of a whistle on what could have been a game-winning drive, and Heat fans can fairly retort that Ginobili was only fouled because he traveled to the spot in the first place.

The plot thickens, believe it or not, with another questionable no-call just moments later. Both this sequence and the one in the previous clip take place with under five seconds remaining in overtime, as the Spurs advanced the ball to halfcourt for one final fling after a pair of Allen free throws stretched Miami’s lead to 103-100. Tim Duncan triggered the inbound and threw a perfect pass to Danny Green — who had cut toward the ball as part of the play’s setup, then wheeled around a Tiago Splitter back screen to the far wing. Green catches the ball with enough time to rise and fire, but Chris Bosh tracked the play and smothers Green’s attempt from the corner:

This play is a bit closer to the borderline, as it requires us to determine how much lower body contact is acceptable on a jump shot.

Bosh definitely makes contact with Green as a result of jumping into him, but is there enough of a bump to constitute a clear foul call?

A fair case could be made in either regard. I’m inclined to slightly favor a no-call on this play, but it certainly toes the line of incidental lower-body contact in the defense of a shooter.

110 comments
scross
scross

I don't follow either team, but when i saw the Ginobli foul, I thought it was a definite foul, but after looking at it in slow-motion, it looks like Ray Allen makes contact with the ball, and Ginobli just tries to milk it to get to the line. Respect for both teams, but i think the refs made the right call.

Adam18
Adam18

It's nice to see people get so upset over a call/no call on a play and care nothing for how messed up this nation is. More bread and circuses for the masses....

arlingtonpeavey
arlingtonpeavey

The Heat is being used to get ratings.  Nobody watched the Spurs series.  Now that the Heat served its purpose the NBA want them to lose because the Spur represent how the NBA traditionally feels teams should be built.  The Heat was built to win and it cost other franchises.  And not to mention the Spurs are not better than the Thunder.  They benefited from Westbrook's injury.

gh2frg
gh2frg

The Spurs have taken 34 more free throw attempts in this series. Both Manu's drive and Green's three were blatant travels. Plus Splitter had the quite obvious illegal moving screen. The refs let those travels go. To beg for questionable fouls after those blatant travels... Spurs fans and Heat haters should be embarrassed with themselves. 

The truth of the matter is, most of these people only care about what they deem 'correct' officiating if it would help the Spurs win/ the Heat lose. That is all. They don't want correct officiating when a Miami player is getting blatantly fouled. They are more than happy with the blown call.

arlingtonpeavey
arlingtonpeavey

Please, Spurs got all the calls in game 6 and 5.  Every time they made a run the Refs called a shady foul and they also covered up the Spurs Chris Webber moment by reviewing Ray Allen's three.  Pop took advantage and substituted which is another technical.  The Heat must bring this up because if they are going to play in the paint the Ref's should call the fouls evenly or nothing.  The Ref's on the Spurs side and they still could not when the game with a 12 point lead.

DanielDsouza
DanielDsouza

How come nobody is talking about Splitter's moving screen on Allen? He didn't stop moving till Danny got the ball! LeBron got called for one-tenth the movement in the last game.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Refs just instinctually don't want to whistle at all on a play like the one involving Bosh and Green, because it has the potential to directly decide the game's outcome.  What if they get it wrong?  The public backlash would be horrific for them personally. From their perspective, in those situations it's better just to swallow the whistle if the play is even a little subjective.

romyjoven
romyjoven

Players are substituted during games for various reasons - tired, miscues and errors, off night, etc. Referees are not subbed and to watch ten players running around with the intent of outdoing one another, the referees have more chances of making errors and misjudgments just like players. To put into perspective your two items of contention, the game was decided by the players and not by the referees. They were judgment non calls and can go either way. Next article please.

Thrift Store Junkie
Thrift Store Junkie

This is the reason why the NBA is the most inconsistent and poorly officiated sport in the world. Why should the last two minutes of a game be officiated differently than the first two minutes of a game? Why do certain (superstar) players receive preferential treatment while "role players" are less fortunate? Danny Green was clobbered by Chris Bosh and almost every basketball analyst agreed that if had been fouled merely two minutes earlier in the game, he would have been at the line. 

dAm_im_So_NY
dAm_im_So_NY

Do ppl realize that a three from the heat tied the game. If that how u play D Parker just had to jump into the shooter and the series would be over. You can't jump into a shooter. If that s the case there would never be a buzzer beater. Games can't continue to end like this. The casual fan doesn't care but if you are a fan of the game it bothers to the point of not watching the games

michael72688
michael72688

Here's an idea, why don't you re-watch the entire game and tally up all the missed calls instead of focusing on two at the end of the game.  Maybe there were 12  calls that went against the Heat and 4 calls that went against the Spurs.  Where's your argument then?

jhtlaw
jhtlaw

In game 5, ray allen had two 4 point plays, with a hell of a lot less contact called fouls against the Spurs..

newmn22
newmn22

Fail- this article doesn't mention the actual mistake made by the refs- incorrectly allowing Duncan to sub into the game after the 3 pointer review..

DallasScott
DallasScott

The Spurs lost because they did not make free throws and rebound. One more rebound or one more free throw made and this series is over. In the NBA you can't count on the refs to make the right calls down the stretch. Especially Crawford, especially against Miami.

However, you can't tell me that if Ray Allen had ended up on his back in the second row when he shot that three-pointer, that he would not have gone to the line. Lebron gathered and took three steps about a minute before Manu and the refs just reviewed if he lost the ball or not.

0xfece5
0xfece5

This is a waste of time.  At this level of hyperanalysis, every call is debatable.  So the headline could say "Heat win Game 6 despite 53 debatable calls".

Every game ever played comes down to debatable calls.  Save this kind of vanilla sports analysis article for ESPN.

super_mecha
super_mecha

Even the broadcasters and the sport center announcers thought Bosh foul Green. How do you not look at the replay and think that it was a foul

JeffFreedman
JeffFreedman

You are clearly biased to the point where you have lost all objectivity. Although the officiating was subpar, it actually favored the Spurs, not the Heat. Throughout the Finals, the Spurs have shot considerably more foul shots than the Heat. Many of the fouls were questionable at best. Tony Parker has taken acting and flopping to new heights. Just look at the video. Multiple times when guarded by Lebron, he fell backward clutching his mouth as though he was hit, but replays showed there was no contact. The NBA should fine him for each flop. Instead of reporting that it was one of the most exciting Finals games in history, you pursue ridiculous conspiracy theories and excuses for the team that choked when Lebron willed his team to victory. You are now officially a member of the "Heat Haters"!

bithomas2
bithomas2

I'm a huge Spurs fan, and last night was heartbreaking.  But, neither one of these lack of calls lost the game for the Spurs, and of the two, only the Ray Allen foul had any chance of being called.  The Spurs had plenty of chances to win in regulation, but what happened?


-- Manu repeatedly threw terrible passes for turnovers.  I love him, but he really needs to make the easy pass and stop trying to make SportsCenter highlights (especially when those bad passes lead to Heat points on the other end, which make the wrong kind of SportsCenter highlights). 


-- Manu and Kawhi need to hit all of their free throws.

-- The Spurs need to get at least one defensive rebound on the last two Miami offensive possessions.  I think Pop taking out Duncan on both plays was a terrible coaching decision, and that's something I can rarely ever say about Pop.


I hope the Spurs can put this performance behind them and find a way to win game 7.  I think if any team can do it, it would be the Spurs.  I think cutting Manu's turnovers down would by itself make the game winnable, as the Spurs took Miami's best shot and still were in a great position to win the game.

Brent7
Brent7

You forgot the no call on LeBron's drive at the end of the game. You know when San Antonio threw the ball right to him, and then Green threw a hip check into him prior to making a play on the ball.  I know it sent Green flying and not LBJ, because James is so massive, but that doesn't mean its not a foul.  If that is a not a foul, than neither were the others. Bosh stuffed the ball in his face before he touched him.  Ginoblie was hardly touched.  I watched it in slow mo multiple times. He probably shouldn't have tried to drive through 4 guys. Maybe dish to an open man next time? 

mtanley
mtanley

what about the refs stopping the game to review an obvious three pointer? that killed any opportunity for a fast break, which is what tony parker does well.

KingsleyArthurRowe
KingsleyArthurRowe

These were the most egregious missed calls in any NBA Finals game I have ever watch. Green and Ginobli were definitely fouled on these plays. Unbelievable. 

trp6
trp6

They could have also called Splitter for a moving screen on that last play.  So yeah, the refs swallowed their whistles, but on both plays, the Spurs committed an infraction first (Ginobli travel, Splitter moving screen).

Mike26
Mike26

AS expected, Joey Crawford and crew followed Stern's orders and created a 7-game series. Anyone who believes otherwise needs to get their Christmas list ready for Santa.

sulgorae
sulgorae

The game was called pretty well.  Although they missed the Ginobili call, the refs gifted TP9 a few free throws in the 4th based on phantom contact.   The hoop was fair.

kabasele.fh
kabasele.fh

@gh2frg Right on.those are short sighted people,they only see the pie on other people eyes not theirs.

I remember game 5 in San Antonio,all calls went against Miami.

Thrift Store Junkie
Thrift Store Junkie

@michael72688 One does not have to go through the entire game and point out every trivial blown or bad call. The last sequence of the game was one of the most obvious fouls of the night, clear as day. Danny Green was wiped out by Chris Bosh and should have been at the line to shoot three free throws. It does not mean the Spurs would have won, but they deserved that chance. 

arthur3
arthur3

@newmn22 Duncan never comes in if the refs do not stop the game for a completely unjustified review, which they then covered with a bogus "something thrown on the court" excuse. They should just say, we were wrong, and be done with it, instead of inventing a story to cover their error. All refs make errors

BobbyPiegel
BobbyPiegel

@super_mecha It's the end of the game they rarely ever call that.  There was a lot of ball on that play and minimal contact by Bosh on the lower half of Green's body.  Please explain why Splitter wasn't called for a moving screen on that play?  Why Green wasn't called for bumping LeBron and hacking his arm on the fast break?

Famelorn
Famelorn

After reading this you must be a Heat fan. Battier grabs peoples arm everytime he sets screens and flops around trying to get a call. LBJ's head snaps back everytime he runs into a guy 100lbs lighter than him, cries everytime he commits a TO or misses a shot. Laid on the ground atleast 2 times that cost his team pts cause he was pouting. I am not a fan of either of these teams, but if the game had 5 seconds left on Ray's 3 and Duncan blocked em and slammed em in to first row and Heat lost the same crying would be going on in South Beach!

jeffreyontko
jeffreyontko

@bithomas2 Yes, talking X and O's....I can see some logic why Coach was taking both Duncan and Parker out, since almost the whole quarter the Spurs were switching the ball screens.  Duncan isn't the best/quickest on those and Miami was definitely targeting whomever Parker was guarding and to force him to switch to Lebron on the ball screen which he just out-muscled him.  I don't necessarily agree with switching ball screens, coach should have been upset with how the guy guarding the man setting the ball screen was using very poor footwork.  He was way to far away from the screen, sometimes around the free throw line!  Even with a switching approach the goal is for the man guarding the screener to jump out quickly with a high angle to force the ball-handler farther away from the basket, in fact most teams that switch like that try to force turnovers using that technique, but it must be an aggressive switch to do that.  The turnovers by Manu were killer without a doubt.  Several big shots were missed down the stretch prior to the one Parker hit as well.  What I don't understand is why the Spurs coach didn't use that long prep time prior to the start of the finals to put in a 3-2 zone or possibly a 1/2 court trap with the right line up in.  Mixing things up a bit to keep an offense off balance has proven to be one of the best strategies teams can implore...even going back in time farther than the 1/2 court trap used by Pat Riley and Magic's Lakers.  Again just talking X and O's wise.....didn't anybody look at how the Mavs beat the Heat while keeping Dirk and other big men on the floor?  They mixed in a zone defense that negates all of those size/individual match ups.  The Heat have great shooters but they never have had a true point guard which a zone would take full advantage of.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@bithomas2  Yes, I believe most Spurs fans are objective like yourself. You've seen too many games over the years to blow a gasket over a couple of non-calls. Great comment and I agree some of the coaching moves were suspect. 

I am predicting Parker and Leonard having strong games tomorrow. Parker will shoot better. Leonard gets better with every game - that guy is the future. 


GoHorns
GoHorns

@Brent7 

Oh you mean that same play where Lebron clearly took three steps before the no-call in question?... Yes Ginobili traveled also, but don't act like Lebron was getting jobbed or something.

mtanley
mtanley

@Brent7 the picture at the top of the page clearly shows contact before any ball stuffing

BobbyPiegel
BobbyPiegel

@mtanley1. Popovich asked for the review.  2. It gave San Antonio essentially a timeout for them to draw up a play.  3. The refs erred in letting Duncan come into the game on that play.  It wasn't a timeout or a dead ball just a review according to the rules Duncan could not check in for that play which he obviously did.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@KingsleyArthurRowe You must not have watched many NBA Finals. Magic plowed into Isiah Thomas in the closing seconds of game 7 in the 1988 Finals. It's on youtube. It's more egregious. 

Fans can now benefit from all the replay angles we want and see every single missed call. Which ref was supposed to call the foul on Ray Allen? None  could definitively see it.  Calling the Bosh foul would have been cheap. Danny Green didn't even make an attempt to sell it and he didn't complain afterwards. His body language suggests no foul. 

Brent7
Brent7

@KingsleyArthurRowe sorry but Ginoblie was hardly touched.  I know the announcers were all about it being a foul, but seriously, he took 4 steps for one thing, tried to drive through 4 guys, and was relatively untouched for the amount of guys he tried to run through.  If that was a foul, so was Green's obvious hip check on LBJ's fast break minutes before.  

SG30
SG30

@Mike26 If you want to say Green was fouled let's talk about him pushing off Allen at first, then the moving screen that Splitter did to get Green that look.

monkey1371
monkey1371

@mtanley @Brent7 And the video clearly shows Splitter mugging Ray Allen like an offensive lineman, springing Green.

Funny how Lebron and Miller got called for far less "moving screens" during Game 5 very late that nullified huge baskets.

silaszrt
silaszrt

@BobbyPiegel @mtanley pop didnt ask for the review! you are a completely biased heat fan. I watch the game all the time and am a huge NBA fan. I am not a spurs fan in this series though i am rooting for them over miami for this Finals. Duncan shouldnt have come in, yes, but that probably helped miami because duncan didnt score or do anything at all.

KenKing
KenKing

@BobbyPiegel @mtanley Popovich did not ask for the review. He could clearly be seen screaming " You can't do that" as the officials stopped the clock after the inbounder had possession of the ball.

Mike26
Mike26

Ha! The no-call on the final shot was just the last no-call of many throughout the 4th quarter. There were too many missed calls in the 4th that cost the Spurs the game to describe all of them.

PS: I could care less about the Spurs or the Heat.

massiMaw
massiMaw

@silaszrt @BobbyPiegel @mtanley we are all biased fans. For me, that stupid instant-replay rule only gave the Spurs the chance to regroup. As far as I know, the 5 Heat players on the floor were all set to defend the Spurs' last offensive run in the regulation. 

I say, we move on to Game 7... and may the best team win..

As for Game 6, give it to the Heat, us.. I think it's only fair to say that Miami was the better team last night.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@Mike26 Then go away, you insulting tool. 

Go comment on 9/11 truthers.com

Mike26 You add nothing to these discussions, you hysterical lunatic.