Tim Donaghy On Game 3: Swallowing Whistles For The Playoffs

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As he has done for us in years past, Tim Donaghy, the owner and operator of RefPicks.com 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 breakdown of Game 3, with accompanying video.

First Quarter


9:39: Illegal screen set by Bosh, leads to two points. He sticks his knee out to pick off the defender—an obvious call, missed by two officials in perfect position.


8:31: Missed call on the fast break, the ball was tipped by the defender and so shouldn't be called a double dribble.

6:57: Parker fouled going to the basket and hits the floor, no call. Officials always have a tape session after the first two games of a series, and there’s no doubt Parker, who flopped several times in Games 1 and 2, was specifically addressed. That likely hurt him here.


4:08: Missed offensive foul on James. After he passes the ball he goes into and through the set defender. Jeff Van Gundy made some stupid comment about it not being called because it’s the NBA Finals. Not sure where in the rulebook it says the rules change come playoff time. If it seems referees swallow their whistles in the postseason, it’s not because the league office encourages it.

Second Quarter


11:15: Ginobili hit as he goes up for a three-point shot, defender hits his left arm. Capers misses it because he’s watching Ginobili’s feet. But you referee from the feet up, and since Capers was slow scanning upward, someone needs to help him with the call.

10:25: Correct call on Birdman setting an illegal screen. He's not set and rides the defender into the lane.

5:47: Incorrect call. This is not enough contact for an offensive foul to be called, and should be let go. This sends Chalmers to the bench with three fouls. His shooting foul on the previous possession should been let go too. It’s unlikely either of them would be called on star players.


2:34: James rakes Duncan across the face and this foul is ignored. Missed call. Players rarely fake getting hit in the eye.

1:33: A foul should have been called sooner, the defender is holding Bosh around the waist. There is no contact on the shot and it should not have been a shooting foul.


Third Quarter


11:06: A clear shooting foul, blown call. James should have been given two free throws as he did not dribble before he shot the ball.


10:33: Duncan gets whistled, but this should be a offensive foul on Haslem, or at the very least a “play on.” Haslem initiated the contact with an elbow into Duncan’s chest.

8:50: Correct call on the travel, Wade can't be the first to touch the ball after the release.


Fourth Quarter


9:51: Slight contact on this play, and though James begs for a foul, he doesn’t get it. Usually a team down 25 will get this whistle. Officials want to save them embarrassment; a team getting killed will get calls the winning team won’t.


8:18: Neal fouled on this jumper by Bosh, but he is never going to get this call up 27. Players know this. Conversely, a team down big knows it can usually play more physically without getting whistled.

5:16: Two missed calls in quick succession. Cole is held prior to setting his screen, and Jones impeded on his cut. In a 32-point game, maybe the officials just wanted to go home.