Tag: Miami Boston

LeBron James

LeBron, Pierce foul out of sadly whistle-happy game


The biggest problem for the NBA is that the day after every major game we are discussing the officiating.

And the officiating — particularly late in Game 4 of Miami and Boston — was a key part of the story Sunday. There were five offensive foul calls in the second half of the fourth quarter and overtime. Joey Crawford and crew were not shy with the borderline calls. Both LeBron James and Paul Pierce fouled out offensive fouls.

Every fan base is sure the officials are out to screw them, and like any good conspiracy theory there is just enough “evidence” fuel the speculation. Thing is, in this case there were just a series of bad calls.

Like the call that fouled LeBron out of the game. LeBron was trying to establish post position and Mickael Pietrus pulled the chair. Both men fell. ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said you have to make some kind of call there, I say he’s wrong. No you don’t. LeBron picked up his fifth foul on a cop-out “double foul” call and fouled out on this.

LeBron had not fouled out of any game since 2008, which considering he draws some tough defensive assignments is an impressive feat. He had never fouled out of a playoff game. But in this game the calls were tight and there was no “play on.”

Pierce has fouled out three times in the last two series, which seems a strange trend but he’s picking up a lot of offensive fouls.

And he fouled out on one — he was coming across the lane, Shane Battier ran in front of him, Pierce did bring his arm up and Battier went down. Could have, should have been a no call in my book, but the whistle blew.

All game long it was like this. Ray Allen stepped out of bounds then passed to Keyon Dooling for a key first half three. On one play Pierce was fouled by LeBron, but only after Pierce had traveled to get the shot. That somehow was a no call.

And there was no shortage of flopping by both teams all night.

So we end up with another game where the NBA’s officiating is at the heart of the post-game conversation. This time it’s not Boston fans whining about perceived injustice (they shouldn’t this game, they caught some real breaks), it was just uneven all night.

And the bigger problem for the NBA is there are no easy answers out there.

There is not some magical pool of better officials out there the NBA is ignoring. (If you think so, you forgot what the scab refs looked like last labor fight.) More replay all game is not the answer. The game is fast and filled with big men and whatever the officials do they are wrong. “Superstars get all the calls” but then they call some on LeBron and Pierce and we point out they were not good calls. All we can ask for is consistency.

There just wasn’t any Sunday night.

Video: Rondo, both coaches talk Celtics Game 4 victory

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Three
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Here is a slice of Erik Spoelstra’s post-game press conference from Sunday night. He is pretty composed. It would have been way more fun to make Pat Riley get up there and see if he could hold his tongue about LeBron James fouling out.

Also speaking here are Rajon Rondo, the guy that makes the Celtics go, and Doc Rivers.

What ankle problems? Ray Allen plays 46 minutes, looks good

Ray Allen

At the start of the Eastern Conference finals, Ray Allen was moving around the court like Betty White. Battling bone spurs in his ankles, he wasn’t moving crisply to get open and when he did get a look there was no lift in his legs and shots clanged off the rim. He was even missing free throws. And Ray Allen doesn’t miss free throws.

But it’s not like that any more.

Allen wasn’t exactly his old self — he was 6-of-16 from the field in Game 4 — but he is a threat again, playing more than 46 minutes, moving well off the ball and scoring 16 points as part of the Celtics dramatic win.

“Just going into the game, starting the game, having my legs underneath me is for me it’s a huge deal now,” Allen said at his post-game press conference.

He had a couple key threes and has again attracted the focus on the Heat defense, spreading them out. It has been one of the keys to the Celtics tying the series up 2-2.

This doesn’t mean the problem is gone for the free agent to be. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com has this quote from Allen.

“At my lowest point, I was ready to have surgery,” Allen said. “I didn’t think that I would get any better, because I was doing all the things I needed to do, treatment-wise, and just staying off of it. It didn’t seem like it was going to get any better…

“It just progressively got better over time,” Allen said. “We’ll see how I deal with it once the season is over.”