A Nuggets Perspective on NBA Officiating

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) Nuggets
(Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) Nuggets /

The Denver Nuggets come from a knowledgable place when it comes to bad NBA officiating.

The chart above, from this article at fivethirtyeight.com has the Nuggets ranked as the team with the third-highest occurrence of getting jobbed by the refs.

While that statistic is bad enough, look at the disparity in Bad Calls compared to the rest of the NBA.  The Nuggets and Will Barton in particular, get it from NBA officials as bad, if not worse, than anyone in the Association.

This is of particular interest given the wild ending to last night’s NBA Finals Game One from Oakland.

If you live under a rock, there are three calls in particular that seem to defy description.  George Hill’s strip of Kevin Durant that was whistled for a foul.  LeBron James‘ blocking foul that was initially called a charge and then overturned on review.  Tristan Thompson’s flagrant-two and ejection based on his closeout and contest of Shaun Livingston’s overtime three-point shot.

I’ve never been a fan of blaming officiating.  I believe in the edict that if you don’t want the officials deciding the game, don’t put it in their hands.

That convention gets put on its ear a bit in a Finals setting, though.  The game was so tightly contested that every factor becomes significant.  J.R. Smith, for example, after grabbing an offensive rebound on a George Hill free throw miss, inexplicably dribbled out to the three-point line before realizing his situation and passing to Hill for a desperate shot attempt. It was as significant a blunder as I can remember since Chris Weber calling timeout for the University of Michigan when they had none.  Two issues with laying the failure of the Cavs to secure a coveted road win:

First, Hill should’ve made the free throw.  There’s not much more to that.  He’s a professional, he shoots 80% from the line and they were trying to get a win at Oracle.

Second, the above referenced calls had the Warriors in a position they should never have been in.  It should have been Cavs by four at the end of regulation, even with the missed Hill free throw.