NBA Finals Game 3: Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics

League says officiating this season no different than last year

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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 NBA.com.

“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.

Hassan Whiteside ejected for elbowing Boban Marjanovic in face (video)

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Hassan Whiteside defends himself when questions about his maturity early in his career with the Kings arise:

“That was a long time ago,” Whiteside said. “If they want to think about things that happened four, five years ago, that’s up to them.

“I don’t think it’s something that should follow me, but I really don’t know right now. That was years ago. Things didn’t work out in Sacramento. I worked my way to get back here. I could’ve easily gave up and went back home and just chilled. But I put in the work, and I feel like I’m a hard worker or I wouldn’t be here.”

But then he does something like this.

Gordon Hayward beats buzzer, Mavericks (video)

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 18:  Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.

Gordon Hayward took it from there.

This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*

*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang

Rodney Hood sends Jazz-Mavericks to OT (video)

during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.

Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.

Avery Bradley fouls Khris Middleton, who makes game-winning free throw (video)

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The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.

But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.

Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.

Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.