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 6, with accompanying video.
9:59 [MIA 5-4] Good no-call as James drives into the paint. This is not a foul; James is just flopping all over the place like a fish out of water. The officials saw the flopping he did in Game 5, and that must've been an embarrassment for them.
6:48 [MIA 16-11] Wade carries the ball on this drive to the basket. He pauses with the ball and pulls it across his body, and that causes Kidd to go off-balance, leaving Wade with an open path to the basket. Officials should've made this call.
5:11 [MIA 20-15] This isn't a foul on Nowitzki, and it's a pivotal play because with two fouls, it forces Dallas to take him out of the game for a spell. That's Scott Foster's whistle. He'll make a lot of close calls throughout the game in Miami's favor (see in particular 7:38 and 5:52 in the fourth). I'm not saying he was in the tank for the Heat. I'm just saying that, subconsciously or not, officials will often ref the series the way they ref the score of a game and give the close calls to the losing team. The foul here wouldn't have been called in Dallas, and I'd say it wouldn't have been called in either city if Miami had been up in the series.
2:09 [DAL 25-24] Wade travels prior to this jump shot. The officials also miss a 24-second shot-clock violation — the ball never hits the rim in the possession.
1:28 [DAL 27-24] Correct call: James is set before he and Chandler make contact, and he's also just barely stepped out of the restricted area. You can bet that James was eager to take a charge like this after Chandler got him in Dallas.
11:00 [DAL 34-28] The officials were right to correct this out-of-bounds call. This is a case of the officials reading the reaction of the players: It's a bang-bang play, and while the official who helps can't see it from his position on the floor, he can tell by the players' reactions exactly who hit it out of bounds. In this case, it was the incredulous Terry.
8:35 [DAL 40-33] Chalmers pushes off on this drive to the basket and fouls Barea, right in front of Scott Foster. This is another play in which the home team — also the team that happens to be down in the series — benefits from a call or a no-call.
6:25 [MIA 42-40] Had the series not ended last night, I believe that this altercation would've led to several suspensions for both Miami and Dallas. Players who leave the bench area during an altercation are supposed to be suspended for the following game. In this case, a timeout had been called, but the players still moved toward the shoving match once it had commenced. This is really the exact scenario the league had in mind when it instituted the rule.
4:40 [MIA 44-43] Nowitzki is lucky to get away with this foul. The officials most likely realized that his second foul — called back in the first quarter — was questionable, and gave him a gift by letting this one slide.
11:14 [DAL 55-54] Wade should be called for a defensive three-second violation on this play. He hangs in the lane without guarding a player, which effectively closes up the lane and keeps Nowitzki from driving to the hoop.
9:55 [DAL 59-56] Bosh pushes Chandler on this basket. On a play like this, though, the officials will hold their whistle to see if the shot goes in — but this is too much of a foul and needs to be called.
5:27 [DAL 68-64] This is a foul by Barea, and in addition, a technical foul or flagrant foul definitely needs to follow on Cardinal. This type of contact — in which there is no play on the ball — can easily lead to a fight, and it's the officials' responsibility to control that.
4:20 [DAL 71-65] Cardinal reaches in and fouls James, and the officials miss the call. It's surprising because Cardinal is actually committing the foul to stop James's drive to the basket, which may have been an easy basket in this footrace.
3:55 [DAL 71-65] This is the correct call. Cardinal takes yet another charge for Dallas. The Mavs got a lot of offensive foul calls in this series, which is probably why Wade was so frustrated with the call. That said, he deserves both the foul and the tech that follows.
9:35 [DAL 84-77] Terry fouls Wade across the arm, which is what causes the ball to come out. It's not a clean steal, and it leads to a Dallas fast break. The officials missed this call.
7:38 [DAL 89-77] This is not a block; this is an offensive foul. With Miami down big and the clock ticking, the official is attempting to officiate the score. The replay clearly shows Chalmers lowering his shoulder into Barea.
5:52 [DAL 94-84] Well. Another questionable foul in Miami's favor. This is a cheap three-point play.
4:38 [DAL 95-87] Kidd travels prior to this shot, and the officials let it go. His left foot is his pivot foot, and he moves it prior to taking his dribble.
:18.8 [DAL 105-92] No call here, just an observation: Check out James as the woman in the red tank top runs past him prior to the inbounds play. She also catches the eye of the referee on the baseline. James is on the verge of losing the series, but he still has time to check out the ladies.
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.