Bernucca: Time for NBA referees to snap out of it

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Referee Kevin FehrAnd they go out there and allow players to freely change their pivot foot. And ignore players who screen for the ball like pulling guards. And wait to see if the shot misses before calling a foul. And let their ears overpower their eyes.

We are already into the second half of the season. The All-Star break is two weekends away, followed by the stretch run, with teams like Dallas and Denver and Portland and even Toronto fighting for postseason position or a playoff spot. And one extra win or loss can make the difference.

It seems like as good a time as any for the NBA to stop worrying about what coaches are saying about referees and start worrying about why they are saying it.

TRIVIA: Two teams have not had an All-Star since 2004, the longest current drought. Who are they? Answer below.

THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT: With his team trailing by 27 points in the final seconds, Clippers forward Caron Butler pretended to shake hands with Raptors forward Jonas Valanciunas and stole the ball from him for a cheap breakaway basket.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, reaching his wit’s end after an 18-point loss to the equally futile Detroit Pistons:

“Maybe we need to go back to 2 1/2 or three-hour practices and run up and down the floor. I asked our guys if they were content being 13-34, because if they are, let me know and we can make some changes.”

LINE OF THE WEEK: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland vs. Dallas, Jan. 28: 42 minutes, 12-20 FGs, 1-1 3-pointers, 4-5 FTs, 13 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks, one turnover, 29 points in a 106-104 win. Aldridge tied the game with his first 3-pointer of the season from the right side with 4.9 seconds left, then won it with a turnaround jumper from the left side at the buzzer.

LINE OF THE WEAK: Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte at San Antonio and Houston, Jan. 30 and Feb. 2: combined 60 minutes, 0-3 FGs, 1-2 FTs, six rebounds, zero assists, six blocks, zero steals, six fouls, two turnovers, one point in a pair of double-digit losses. The Lone Star State has a lottery game called the Texas Two-Step. These weren’t the winning numbers.

TRILLION WATCH: Our unexpected bye week meant we missed mentioning the momentous 11 trillion posted by Portland rookie Will Barton vs. Washington on Jan. 21. Barton obliterated the 8 trillions posted earlier this season by Brooklyn’s Josh Childress and San Antonio’s Matt Bonner. This week’s best non-effort also came from a rookie – Oklahoma City’s Perry Jones III, who had his second 5 trillion of the season at Cleveland on Saturday.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Chicago at Indiana, Feb. 4. This is the reschedule of the postponed game Dec. 26 when a big snowstorm hit Indianapolis. The Pacers haven’t lost at home since Dec. 7 and also had a scratch-and-claw 80-76 win at Chicago on Dec. 4. However, the Bulls have the NBA’s best road record at 14-7. The winner assumes first place in the Central Division.

GAME OF THE WEAK: Phoenix at New Orleans, Feb. 6. The Eric Gordon Invitational. Believe it or not, both these teams somehow have worse records than the Sacramento Kings.

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  1. I just wanted to say the calls the refs made tonight on the Pacers Raptors game sucks. I call it complete favoritism. We need to get better officials. The Refs are dumbasses. They need to get glasses or pay more attention!!!! Tony Brothers you SUUCKKK BIG TIME!!!!!! Go get a job in where you can maybe make better calls!!!!

  2. FireDavidStern says:

    It makes no sense and when something makes no sense, it’s because we don’t have all the facts. It is hilarious that making a mistake (ie. a foul”) in an NBA game (I’d hate to refer to their product as basketaball), gets you a penalty such as some sort of foul call, technical foul, or ejection. However, when the referees make a mistake, there are zero ramifications. Zero. How many NBA refs have been fired for bad officiating? Zero. How many have been fined for blown calls? Zero. Hell, not even Joey Crawford was fired for what he did to Tim Duncan years ago. Yet when anyone complains about it, they get fined. They get fined for stating the obvious because they don’t want anyone to draw more attention to the fact that the referees massage the outcomes of the games. Fire David Stern. Now.

  3. hoogie2007 says:

    In boxing there are ramifications for putting the “fix” in though we all know that it still happens; even in figure skating there are ramifications for putting in the “fix”, but in basketball it seems that it is expected with no consequences for the ref, but serious penalties for anyone who complains about it. On my reading of the rules of basketball I do not see where there is any rule that says a foul is not a foul if you are considered to be a star in the sport or a member of a team that is making the playoffs who is playing against a team that is not making the platoffs. The “Superstars” of basketball are made that much better because they can foul at will with no foul calls made against them, but if a defender comes within a foot of them there will be a foul against that defender and if they actually miss a shot the refs will make a call against any member of the apposing team simply because the superstar missed, so it must have been a fouls against someone. I am so disguted with the officials in the NBA that I discourage any young player I deal with from watching the NBA games so as not to think that the game is actually supposed to be called that way. It is an outright disgrace to watch the officiating in a lot of the NBA games. They should be getting fined for the obvious bias not the coaches for complaining about it.

  4. I don’t think the coaches (and Mark Cuban) are complaining any more than usual tbh. I don’t watch every game, but the refereeing doesn’t seem to be any worse than usual (not to say it’s great, just not noticeably worse than usual). The occasional awful game as usual. And yes, home refereeing IS noticeable… not that it doesn’t happen in a lot of sports, and is arguable a contributing factor to the very existence of home court advantage in an indoor sport with identical courts like basketball….they might want to ask the refs to give more no-calls on contact where the defender goes straight up or very close to it, offensive players seem to get the benefit of the doubt here a bit too often and an endless parade of free throws where a guard just drives into traffic looking for contact gets a bit tiresome.

  5. Mike Saunders says:

    With two admitted blown calls earlier in the season with the Raps on the wrong end on those calls, you might also argue that the league felt that they had reached their apologies to the Raptors. I mean how would it look if the Raps miss the last playoff spot by like 3 games and the league has ended up admitting that they blew calls in 3 games. There is another blown call in the game that Toronto blew to Philly a few weeks ago where Alan Anderson is clearly pushed out of bounds with the Raps trying to inbound the ball in the dying seconds of regulation.

  6. stepxxxxz says:

    bravo chris. This whole season has been shockingly bad in terms of officiating. Just terrible. And its time for the next commissioner (because thank christ stern is leaving) stops with the favoritism to star players. Kobe, LBJ, Durant…….these guys get calls that absurd……and they , frankly, should be embarrassed. There is no reason not to have good refs, and call the game fairly. Also………can we stop with the gifts to offensive players when they drive to the basket. They get fouls called around 75% of the time by my count. Mostly these are not fouls, but contact initiated by the ball handler. The defender will not move, will raise hands straight, and get run into and called for a foul. It means, essentially, that there is no way to defend guys who drive to the basket a half step ahead of their primary defender. Its a joke.

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