NBA to determine some reviews at replay center

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The NBA debuted its state-of-the-art replay center last season, but the league wasn’t using it to its full capacity.

This is a big step in the right direction.

NBA release:

The National Basketball Association today announced that the league’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved modifications to the instant-replay process for NBA games, beginning with the 2015-16 season.

This season, in addition to the three referees working each game, current NBA referees will be staffed in the Replay Center, making decisions on certain replay situations and facilitating the on-the-court review of others.

All replay reviews will continue to be triggered by the referees on the court.  Once triggered, though, the final determination of certain reviews will be made by the referees in the Replay Center and then communicated back to the oncourt crew chief for administration of the call.

“Many instances in our 15 instant-replay triggers are very straightforward and do not need the involvement of the oncourt game officials to accurately determine the result,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.  “Flow of game is crucial to basketball so a quicker result will help our players and coaches return to action faster.”

Examples of replays that will be determined by the NBA Replay Center are whether a field goal was a two- or three-point attempt, end-of-quarter made field goals, out-of-bounds calls, goaltending and potential shot-clock violations.

The oncourt referee crew chief will continue to make the final decision for the remaining replay situations, including flagrant and clear-path fouls, player altercations and restricted-area calls.

The current standard for overturning a call made on the floor will remain for all instant-replay reviews.  A call is overturned only if there is “clear and conclusive” visual evidence for doing so.

During replay reviews in which the NBA Replay Center has final jurisdiction, only the crew chief will go to the scorer’s table to hear the Replay Center decision and see the definitive angle on video.   The other two referees will get the players lined up to return immediately upon the final decision being conveyed.

When a review is initiated for the situations to be decided by the oncourt game officials, two referees will go to the table, review the video and discuss the event in collaboration with the NBA Replay Center.  The third referee will be tasked with having the players ready to resume play quickly.

The NBA Replay Center will be staffed each game day by at least one current NBA referee and as many as four depending on the schedule of games.

Below is a chart clarifying which situations will be ruled upon by the Replay Center or the oncourt referees:

Replay Review Outcomes to be Determined by Referees in the Replay Center

1.         2-Point/3-Point Field Goal (made shot or foul)

2.         Made Basket – End of Period

3.         Out-of-Bounds

4.         Shot Clock Violation (on Made Field Goal)

5.         Goaltending/Basket-Interference

6.         Clock Malfunction Situation (non-foul or non-violation involved)

7.         24-Second Shot Clock Reset

8.         Number of Players on the Court

Replay Review Outcomes to be Determined by On-Court Referees

1.         Flagrant Foul

2.         Clear-Path-to-the-Basket Foul

3.         Off-Ball Foul

4.         Player Altercation

5.         Foul – End of Period

6.         Shot Clock Violation (involving foul call)

7.         Correct Free Throw Shooter

8.         Clock Malfunction Situation (foul or violation involved)

9.         Restricted Area

NOTE: No modifications were made to the 15 replay triggers that were in place in the 2014-15 season.

I’m in favor of any change reduce the game’s dead periods. There’s no reason we should wait for a referee to get to a courtside monitor, put on headphones and squint at the screen while distracted by thousands of fans. Someone in the replay center could already determine these calls before the game ref even gets to the scorers’ table.

The next step is getting more calls determined by the review center – or, better yet, robots.

Donovan says Lonzo Ball’s recovery has ‘been really slow’

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls
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Watching the finger-pointing and heated moments between Bulls’ defenders on Wednesday night as Devin Booker carved them up to the tune of 51 points, one thought was how much they miss Lonzo Ball‘s defense at the point of attack.

Ball had a second surgery on his knee back in September and the team said he would be out at “least a few months.” It’s coming up on a few months, so Donovan gave an update on Ball and his recovery, and the news was not good for Bulls’ fans. Via Rob Schaefer at NBC Sports Chicago:

“It’s been really slow,” Donovan said when asked about Ball’s rehab. “I’m just being honest.”

Donovan added Ball has not necessarily suffered a setback. The Bulls knew this would be an arduous process. But he also noted that Ball is “not even close” to being cleared for contact or on-court work.

Ball had his first knee surgery in January and the expectation was he would be back and 100% by the playoffs. However, Ball’s knee didn’t respond well, and he was eventually ruled out for the season. Things didn’t improve over the summer, which led to the second surgery. How much do they miss him? The Bulls were 22-13 with him last season, and he averaged 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, a game. However, it was his defense that was most crucial.

There is no timeline for his return. Which is not good news for Chicago.

PBT Podcast: Timberwolves without KAT, get Luka some help

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Minnesota has stumbled out of the gate this season, and now they will be without Karl-Anthony Towns for around a month with a calf strain. Just how much trouble are the Timberwolves in?

Corey Robinson from NBC Sports and myself discuss that and then get into Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Team USA vs. Team World matchup — does Evan Fournier get the world team in trouble? Who guards whom?

From there, it’s time for Corey’s Jukebox and some New Orleans jazz for Zion Williamson. Some Mavericks’ talk follows that — Dallas has put a big load on the shoulders of Luka Doncic, and while he’s playing like an MVP it’s a long-term concern for the Mavericks and their fans.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

LeBron calls out reporters for asking him about Kyrie Irving but not Jerry Jones

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Within days of Kyrie Irving being suspended by the Nets in the wake of a Tweet promoting an antisemitic film (and his initial refusal to apologize for it), Irving’s former teammate LeBron James was asked about it. He had to deal with the controversy, saying, “I don’t condone any hate to any kind. To any race.”

At the end of his press conference Wednesday night after the Lakers beat the Trail Blazers, LeBron scolded the assembled press for not asking him about the 1957 photo that surfaced of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones outside North Little Rock High School while white students protested the integration of the school when they had been quick to ask about Irving.

“When I watched Kyrie talk, and he says, `I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things they’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America. And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, someone with power and with a platform, when we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage. It’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day.

“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, the photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it. It seems like it’s just been buried under, like, `Oh, it happened. OK. We just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”

Irving and LeBron were teammates in Cleveland and won a ring together, there was a direct connection (plus Irving had been linked to the Lakers in trade rumors over the summer).

However, there was a connection between LeBron and the Cowboys as well. LeBron was for many years a very public Cowboys fan (despite growing up in Browns territory). It came up as recently as October, when LeBron was on Instagram Live promoting his HBO show with Maverick Carter “The Shop” and he said he had stopped rooting for the Cowboys in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests, “There’s just a lot of things that were going on when guys were kneeling. Guys were having freedom of speech and wanting to do it in a very peaceful manner…. The organization was like, ‘If you do that around here, then you will never play for this franchise again.’ I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”

When asked about the photo, Jones said he was a curious 14-year-old who was watching and didn’t understand the magnitude of the moment or situation.

Watch Russell Westbrook drain two buzzer-beaters against Blazers

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The Portland Trail Blazers had to know it was not their night when Russell Westbrook knocked down a buzzer-beating step-back 3-pointer just before the half.

Westbrook wasn’t done, he had one more buzzer-beater in him at the end of the third.

Westbrook wasn’t the only guy in the building draining half-courters — for the second-straight game a Laker fan knocked down a half-court shot, this time to win $25,000.

It was a good night all around for the Lakers and their fans at home against the shorthanded Trail Blazers. They got 31 points from LeBron James, plus 27 points and 12 boards from Anthony Davis. Austin Reaves added in 22, and the Lakers took control in the third and cruised in for a needed win.