As he did for us last year, Tim Donaghy, a contributing writer for The Sports Connection (www.DannyB.info) and a former NBA referee who spent 11 months in prison for relaying inside information to gamblers, will review the performance of his former colleagues during the NBA Finals. Here's a quarter-by-quarter break down of Game 3, with accompanying video.
7:42 [DAL 11-9] Chandler and Kidd both foul Bosh on this drive to the basket. Kidd pokes Bosh in the eye, and Chandler body-bumps him into the lane. This foul needs to be called. With occasional exceptions, a player reaching for his face and going to the ground like that isn't faking it. Guy almost never grab their faces during live play. Officials know that, and most of the time you'll see this foul called. This time, it was ignored.
6:14 [DAL 14-11] Bibby kicks the ball in the paint, and the violation is missed. This will really piss off a player — Kidd, in this case — because he gets charged with a turnover on the stat sheet.
5:49 [DAL 14-11] Illegal screen set by Bosh. A screener has to allow the defender to stop or change direction.
5:26 [DAL 14-13] DeShawn Stevenson pushes Wade in the stomach on this drive to the basket. This is enough contact on an airborne shooter to warrant a foul.
3:01 [DAL 19-18] Travel missed. James jumps off his right foot and lands on the same foot and then takes another step. This is a classic travel that's burned into an official's throughout the year; he sees it on training tape over and over. Must be called.
:01 [MIA 26-22] Backcourt violation prior to the shot. This should have been ruled no good, and I can tell you exactly what happened when officials went over to check the replay. They said, "Holy fuck, we missed it." There's nothing they could do, though. (A backcourt violation like this isn't a reviewable matter. Watch for that rule to get changed in the offseason.) Strangely, Jeff Van Gundy doesn't mention the missed call, and it isn't until much later that the broadcast crew brings up the play again. I have a guess what happened there, too. Somebody in the truck called Mike Breen and said, "Let's mention this real quick or else we'll look like idiots.
10:06 [MIA 34-24] Flop. James gets called for a foul against Stevenson. That's a no-call in Miami, but it's a whistle in Dallas.
8:47 [MIA 34-26] Haslem loses his balance and falls. Not a foul, but it's called — late — because the official feels the slight bump caused him to go down. Haslem never had his balance in the first place.
5:19 [MIA 38-29] Bosh travels prior to passing. He moves his pivot foot.
4:57 [MIA 38-29] Terry is fouled on this jump shot. Wade runs into him before he returns to the floor.
1:49 [MIA 45-35] Cheap foul called on Bosh. This is a play officials will give a team that's down 10.
1:01 [MIA 45-39] Wade flops on this play and fools the officials. Kidd doesn't push him, but Wade jumps toward the officials and yells. You see Kobe and LeBron get the same sort of call because they'll yelp and flop, and in that split second that's all it takes for a ref to give him the benefit of the doubt.
:03.8 [MIA 47-41] Kidd travels on this play while gathering his feet to seek out contact.
10:49 [MIA 51-42] Marion takes an extra step trying to get this shot off. His left foot is his pivot foot, and he clearly takes the extra step to get around the defender. Travel should've been called.
7:11 [MIA 55-48] Bibby travels prior to this drive.
9:13 [MIA 74-72] Wade hits this ball out of bounds. For some reason, Derrick Stafford, the official on the baseline, gives the ball to Miami, and all the Dallas players react simultaneously. It's obvious that Barea didn't hit it last. Usually, what happens here is that one of the other officials, having wondered about the call himself and having read the players' reactions, will come in and change the call. That doesn't happen here.
8:37 [MIA 74-72] Holy shit! A travel called on James as he dances through the lane. Correct call.
7:38 [MIA 76-72] Wade again fouls Terry on a jump shot. He continues to walk under him as shoots his jumper. I've seen this three of four times now, and it's gone uncalled. Dallas will probably complain about this, and I'd guess that the league will sit down with referees before Game 4 and say, "This is a foul that needs to be called." If it happens again, they'll call it.
5:37 [MIA 81-74] Nowitzki goes into and through the space of the set defender. This is a missed offensive foul.
5:13 [MIA 81-76] This is not a double dribble. James drives and the ball is deflected momentarily out of his hands; he's allowed to dribble again. If the officials didn't feel it was a deflection, then it should've been called a travel before the double dribble.
3:04 [MIA 84-80] Haslem pushes Nowitzki in the back on this rebound. Correct call.
1:16 [TIE 86-86] James is hit on this jump shot as the clock hits 1. He is body-checked and then hit on the hand and is unable to follow through on his shot.
:41.9 [TIE 86-86] Good no-call on Haslem's screen, which frees up Bosh for the game-winner. It's a marginal play at best, and that's just not something officials are going to call in that type of situation. Let's say Dallas is down 10. That's getting called, no doubt in my mind. But the last minute of a tie game? A foul or violation would have to really jump out at an official to put any air in the whistle. It's a different set of rules.
Tim Donaghy is a contributing writer for The Sports Connection (www.DannyB.info), a handicapping website featuring gaming consultant Danny Berrelli. Additionally, Tim can be heard weekly on The Sports Connection Radio Show.
Video editing by Emma Carmichael.