NBA Got It Wrong By Admitting Mistake

A day after the Lakers held off the Spurs to win Game Four and take control of the Western Conference Finals, the NBA league office admitted a Derek Fischer should have been whistled for a foul on the last play of the game, a desperation shot by San Antonio’s Brent Barry.

Fishcer clearly made contact with Barry after leaving his feet early. Barry’s mistake was to not initiate further contact by jumping into him on the shot, probably costing him the call during the game. A foul, prior to the shot, puts Barry, an 82% career foul shooter, on the line with two shots to tie the game. Instead, Spurs lose, putting them on the brink of elimination.

What possessed the NBA to make this statement? They had no reason to make any statement. Everyone debated the call yesterday, as fans and media do each day about numerous calls. Ironically, the consensus was that the refs made the right call not blowing the whistle. Even Barry himself agreed that he did not expect a foul call. The NBA created a problem where none existed.

By questioning a judgment call, league officials undermine the authority of the refs. The equivalent is if baseball started to question an umpires calls on balls and strikes. Correcting a black and white call – fair or foul in baseball, if a shot beat the buzzer or not in basketball – is fair, since a review of the play can definitively prove it. Foul calls are judgment. We can watch the replay over and over, and though there is obvious contact, a ref may say that’s not worthy of a foul with under 5 seconds left in a playoff game. Like it or not, game situation plays into calls. The NBA should admit that, not that the ref was wrong.

The NBA opened a Pandora’s box that did not exist after the game. San Antonio made no protests, now they have a right to complain. That probably cost the Spurs their season, and the NBA publicly said as much. It also fuels the Joey Crawford hates the Spurs theory, not to mention the NBA wants the Lakers and Celtics in the Finals conspiracy theory. Why even bring the issue up? Sometimes its better saying less.

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