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 4, with accompanying video.
6:17 [TIE 8-8] Good call on Bibby. This matchup between Barea and Bibby has been extremely physical the entire series, and it got especially physical last night. The referees need to check that by calling fouls on both players on the defensive end. This will be a point of emphasis going into Game 5. You're going to see a lot of fouls called early — body-checks, illegal screens, anything that would prohibit freedom of movement.
5:59 [TIE 8-8] Bosh receives the ball and travels prior to passing. His left foot is his pivot foot, and he takes an extra full step (covering more than two feet) before making the pass.
4:03 [DAL 12-10] James touches the ball while it's descending into the cylinder. Offensive basket interference should have been called.
1:42 [DAL 18-16] This is a fair lane violation call on James. All players must wait until the release of the ball prior to entering the lane on a free throw, and he clearly makes his move before Terry's shot. Lane violations happen all the time, obviously. My guess is that Dallas had complained to the league, and the officials were watching closely.
1:30 [DAL 19-16] Terry impedes James as he cuts across the lane and commits a clear foul that's missed by the officials. This is drilled into NBA officials' heads; players must have freedom of movement. Stevenson gets hit with the make-up call seconds later.
:18.8 [DAL 19-18] This is NOT a foul on Haywood. James flops — it's one of the worst, and therefore most impressive of the series so far — and gets the referees to bite and call a foul. The officials compound the bad call by issuing Dallas coach Rick Carlisle a technical foul.
8:38 [MIA 30-26] This is a missed call on an illegal screen set by Chandler. Miller is attempting to contest the shot when Chandler steps into him and pushes him, which keeps him from getting out to put a hand in the face of the shooter.
8:10 [MIA 32-29] Chalmers bumps Barea from behind and causes him to lose the ball. The refs should have made the call because the play causes a turnover for Dallas.
7:31 [MIA 34-29] Correct travel call on Bosh. This is similar to the play that the refs let go with 5:59 left in the first quarter. Bosh gets away with quite a few of these extra steps.
6:37 [MIA 34-29] Offensive foul called on James. James goes into and through the space of Kidd, who is set and prepared to take the hit. Correct call.
2:37 [DAL 42-38] Bosh travels again, and the refs miss it. He's using his left foot as his pivot foot, and he again takes an extra step prior to releasing the pass. Look at the travel called at 7:31 in this quarter and the one let go at 5:59 in the first, and try to find a difference in the play. Each of them should have led to a Dallas possession instead of just one.
:2.0 [MIA 47-45] Chandler fouls James after the rebound. James starts up the floor and Chandler clearly reaches in and fouls him to try and slow him down. With two seconds to go in the half, though, that's a call that's going to set the Mavs and the home crowd into a frenzy.
9:42 [DAL 49-47] This is not a foul on Nowitzki; it's a perfect block. The refs are likely reacting to the slapping motion he makes toward the ball, but there's no actual contact.
8:20 [DAL 53-51] Correct call on Chandler. Bosh drives and Chandler body-checks him, causing him to go off balance.
8:08 [TIE 53-53] Marion travels on this drive to the basket, and the refs miss the call. He's using his right foot as his pivot foot when he takes an extra step prior to the shot.
2:40 [MIA 65-64] As James drives to the basket, he goes into and through the space of the defender. The offensive foul should have been called. James looks like a fullback putting his head down and taking on a linebacker.
7:32 [MIA 76-73] This is a great read and block by Wade. Correct no-call.
4:01 [DAL 80-78] Haslem fouls Nowitzki on this drive, and the foul needs to be called, especially so late in a close game. On the replay, you can clearly see Haslem hook Nowitzki's left arm before he goes up for the shot. Nowitzki's not really one to sell the foul, though, which may have cost him.
:29.3 [DAL 82-81] Once again, Haslem has Nowitzki hooked on this rebound — and the foul is not called. At this point in the game, a player is going to have to tackle a player for a foul to be called. The rules change in the last two minutes of a close game, especially in the playoffs, and especially in the finals.
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.