Toronto Raptors v Portland Trail Blazers

Raptors Kyle Lowry called for offensive foul on made three, ejected for reaction (VIDEO)


That was a bad call. A kind of obviously bad call.

Down six and going for a three in the final 30 seconds of the Raptors eventual loss to the Kings, Lowry was freed up for a catch-and-shoot three and got called for the offensive foul.

What the referee misjudged was something they were specifically told to start cracking down on last year — players (Dwyane Wade and others did this a lot) would kick out a leg in front of them as they shot a jumper, hoping to draw contact from whomever was contesting then they would fall and try to draw the call. In those cases it was the shooter not making a basketball play and initiating the foul. Except that’s not what Lowry did at all — that was good form, and while his legs came out in front of him it was a natural part of his shooting motion. That should have been a four-point play, not an offensive foul. Not even close.

The technical Lowry got is something the league calls regularly now (most prominently LeBron James has gotten a couple of these recently, including one Wednesday night) — if you run away from the referee after a call that is considered a demonstrable action trying to show up the referee with your displeasure. They call that pretty consistently (Jeff Van Gundy hates it but they are consistent). I wish there was a little more leeway here — a guy running the length of the floor on a first quarter charging call is different from a guy frustrated with a call in the final 30 seconds of a close game. Emotions are up, we want to see guys express those emotions. That seemed thin-skinned by the referees for me, but it wasn’t out of line with what they had been doing. (Lowry already had a technical, so with that one he was ejected.)

To be clear, Toronto didn’t lose this game because of this call, they lost this game because DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings’ front line overwhelmed them in the first half and had Sacramento up by 22 at one point. However, this call ended Toronto’s comeback — if that is allowed to be a four point play then we have a two-point game with 25 seconds left and the end plays out differently. Sacramento probably still wins, but the Raptors had a chance. That bad call killed their chances.

Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha clearly believed in his innocence.

The Hawks wing rejected a plea deal of only day of community service and six months probation. That probably would have been easier than a trial.

But Sefolosha opted to fight the charges – misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Today, he was vindicated.

Robert Silverman:

Sefolosha, who missed the playoffs due to a leg injury that seemingly occurred during his arrest, has made his case clear: New York police targeted him because he’s black. Given everything else we know about policing habits, that’s certainly believable.

We’ve also seen video of multiple officers literally pulling Sefolosha in different directions and one striking him in the leg with a nightstick. We don’t know what preceded that video, but especially given the information revealed at trial, it’s difficult to justify that use of force.

This verdict probably sets up Sefolosha’ to sue the NYPD.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.