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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Tim Donaghy On Game 5: LeBron Gets The Road Treatment

As he has done for us in years past, Tim Donaghy, the owner and operator of RefPicks.comand 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 5, with accompanying video.


First Quarter

7:45: Clean block by Bosh, but the San Antonio bench wants a goaltend. The ball was blocked before it hits the backboard, so this is a good no-call.


6:53: Chalmers picks Ginobili with an illegal screen on the weak side two times on this play. Both instances should have been called. These were probably ignored because they were away from the ball, but the refs still need to call those fouls.

6:05: Chalmers pushes Duncan in the back with two hands on this rebound and no foul is called. The official on the baseline is looking right at it and just misses the call.

1:44: Haslem throws Duncan to the floor while fighting for the rebound, and a foul needs to be called. Again, the officials is looking right at the play and freezes.

Second Quarter

11:27: Good foul call. The defender runs right into the shooter while he is still in the air.


8:08: Missed foul on Splitter, who grabs Bosh around the neck while going for a loose ball.

6:14: Battier bumps Leonard out of bounds, causing him to step on the baseline. Battier should have been called for the bump, and Popovich pops his top at the no-call. Pop should have been hit with a technical foul here, despite the fact that he was right to complain. Pop loses his shit on Tony Brothers, who wasn't responsible for making the call. Brothers likely knows that Pop is right, so instead of giving Pop a tech he gestures towards the official who was responsible for the call—Monty McCutchen—as if to say, "If you want to yell at somebody, yell at him."


5:08: Parker runs into the shooter, not allowing him to return to the floor. A defender has to give the shooter space to land safely, and Parker doesn't do that here. This is a good call.

1:26: James is hit on this play to the basket. Ginobili hits James on the arm as he is going up for the shot. This is a call that James would almost certainly get in Miami.


1:15: Battier hits Ginobili on this jump shot—correct call.

Third Quarter

5:14: Danny Green runs right into James while gong for the rebound. This is an obvious foul that doesn't get called. James won't get these calls on the road but he will in Miami. There were at least two or three moments in this game when James didn't receive calls that he normally gets at home.


3:31: This should be a shooting foul—the offensive player was fouled in the act of shooting.

3:05: This should be an illegal screen and not a defensive foul. They got this one backwards, as the foul should have been Battier.


2:21: This is a cheap foul called on Allen. This kind of foul should be let go, because there's barely any contact on the play.

Fourth Quarter

8:51: Bad foul call. Diaw sets a legal screen on Chalmers, who put an elbow into Diaw's chin, but for some reason the foul is called on Diaw. Miami gets this call because they are down 20. Just another example of the refs giving some sympathy to a team getting blown out, even though Chalmers's elbow was a possible flagrant foul.


6:59: Correct call. Mike Miller's foot is out of bounds when he sets the screen, so this is an illegal screen. Most officials will ignore this violation, though, because it has nothing to do with the play. You'll see this foul called about three times per year. Most officials won't call this unless there is a lot of contact on the play.

2:23: James steps into the defender, setting an illegal screen. This is the correct call. Unlike the two illegal screens that Chalmers set in the first, this one happens right in the thick of the action, so the officials call the foul.


Image by Jim Cooke. Photo via AP.

Tim Donaghy is the owner and operator of

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