A Nuggets Perspective on NBA Officiating

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

In game 5 of the 2009 Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets had an opportunity to take a 3-2 series lead.  A non-call on a clear goaltending derailed the Denver squad.

They lost the game and the series in that moment.  The Nuggets’ performance in game six was awful, the wind had been taken out of their sails.  The crowd was dead.  It was over.

In the most recent season, NBA Official Tony Brothers made a call against Nikola Jokic.  Jokic questioned the call and Nuggets coach Michael Malone walked out on the floor toward Brothers and Jokic to (presumably) also question the call.

Brothers tossed them both.

It was an absurd abuse of power and it cost the Nuggets a game in the ultra-competitive Western Conference race.

Watch any of the Nuggets guards (Barton, Harris, Murray) go to the hole.  The no-call tendency of the NBA officiating toward Denver isn’t just opinion.  It is quantified.  Denver gets a disproportionate amount of bad calls/no-calls.

Because of the disparity, Nuggets fans have perspective on losing out on the benefit of balanced officiating.

November 8, 2016 the Denver Nuggets are playing the Memphis Grizzlies. Late in the 4th, the refs miss an out-of-bounds call, thinking Denver’s Emmannuel Mudiay touched the ball before it went out.  They went to the replay and confirmed the call.  The problem was, Mudiay had not touched the ball, as confirmed by a camera angle they chose not to review.  The on-court officials and the replay center got it wrong.

Denver protested Memphis’ 108-107 win.  The NBA admitted the mistake but denied the protest.

The glaring examples generate outrage but it’s the details that bring the Nuggets losses.  Look at Nikola Jokic’ arms at the end of a game.  Always they are red, scratched and bruised from the “banging” inside.  Unfortunately for Jokic, “banging” doesn’t produce free throws the way it does for say, James Harden.

A case can be made that Carmelo Anthony’s tendency to double-clutch or exaggerate to draw calls at the rim was fostered by the Nuggets treatment from NBA officials.

The officiating disparity affects the development of players.