Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
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Tim Donaghy On Game 5: Why Make-Up Calls Are Necessary

Illustration for article titled Tim Donaghy On Game 5: Why Make-Up Calls Are Necessary

Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee who spent 11 months in prison for relaying inside information to gamblers, is reviewing the performance of his former colleagues during the NBA Finals. Here's a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of Game 5, with video.

Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Game 5 | Game 6 | Game 7



9:15 [BOS 6-2] Paul Pierce is a set defender in the paint, but you can't take a charge in the semicircle on a drive to the basket. Correct call. (Note: The play-by-play has the foul on Ray Allen, but the official is clearly pointing at Pierce.)

9:03 [BOS 6-4] Kevin Garnett isn't set on this screen. He moves into the path of the defender. Officials will always whistle this at the beginning of games to set the tone on screens. Correct call.

6:10 [TIE 10-10] Pierce hits Andrew Bynum on the arm. This isn't a jump ball; it's a foul. Pierce doesn't go straight up here.


4:58 [BOS 14-12] Derek Fisher flops and screams for a foul and manages to fool the referee. Fisher is given the gift of three free throws.

4:41 [LAL 15-14] Quick whistle on Kobe, who's guarding Pierce. The same referee who called the foul on Pierce on the defensive end gives him the call on this end. When an official knows he missed a call he'll quickly give the player a make-up just to calm him down. It happens all the time. When you miss a call on one end, and you know you missed it, and a player or the coach is giving you a lot of heat, you're going to find something on the other end that'll get him off your back. That's just what referees do. I did it when I was in the league. If you're an NBA referee, you don't want a reputation for being "difficult" and for not getting along with coaches and players. That's your fault, as far as the league is concerned, and it'll hurt your grade. Make-up calls are just a way for referees to take some heat off themselves.


3:59 [BOS 16-15] Allen gets the ball and shuffles his feet; no travel called.

:18.6 [BOS 22-20] Not an offensive foul on Lamar Odom. Pierce slides into the path of Odom after the shooting motion begins. This is a tough play, with multiple defenders for the referee to watch. He guesses wrong on the collision.



11:09 [BOS 24-20] Loose-ball foul called. It's obvious that the NBA wants these kinds of fouls to slide unless possession is lost.


9:42 [BOS 26-22] Doc Rivers complains to the official in front of him two straight times down the floor and earns a cheap foul on Los Angeles. Doc is good at this sort of thing. Larry Brown, George Karl, Jerry Sloan — they're all good at it. You motherfuckers are calling that shit down there! Call something down here! It works, and they know it.

7:02 [BOS 32-26] Push in the paint. Not much of a foul.

4:42 [BOS 34-31] Hard foul by Ron Artest; technical foul on Rajon Rondo. Jeff Van Gundy makes a fool out of himself trying to argue that Rondo didn't deserve the tech. Rondo pushes Artest and screams at him, "What the fuck are you doing?" Van Gundy then encourages Rondo to flop at the other end to get a call. I'm sure David Stern will love this commentary.


1:37 [BOS 43-39] Not an offensive foul on Rondo. The outside official blows the whistle; he's out of position and clearly misses the call. Rondo then rolls the ball and shows him up. That most likely would've been a technical if Rondo hadn't gotten one at the 4:42 mark.

1:19 [BOS 43-39] This is a quick make-up call. Artest is whistled here, even though it looks as if he's the one getting fouled.



11:27 [BOS 47-39] Garnett hits the ball off Pau Gasol's leg, but L.A. retains possession. Replay can't be used until the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter.


11:20 [BOS 47-39] Kendrick Perkins fouls Gasol on this drive to the basket. No call.

7:47 [BOS 58-49] Not much of a foul on Kobe. He's charged with an offensive foul anyway.


7:07 [BOS 60-51] Allen runs into the lane and swings at Fisher and smacks him. No foul is called, though a double tech is whistled later in the same possession.

5:06 [BOS 64-56] Cheap foul on Gasol. Garnett is off-balance. The official across the floor makes this call with no clear angle to see it.


4:55 [BOS 67-56] Goaltending is missed. Garnett blocks the shot when the ball is on the way down.

1:24 [BOS 71-61] This is a good no-call on the drive to the basket.


6:41 [BOS 81-73] This isn't a double foul. This is an offensive foul on Allen. He makes the contact in an effort to draw a whistle on Fisher. The NBA doesn't like double fouls, and with good reason — someone has to foul first. It's almost impossible for two players to foul each other simultaneously unless they're holding each other during a rebound attempt.


3:24 [BOS 87-75] Another flop. This isn't a foul on Bryant. Strange that this foul would be called at this point in the game with L.A. down several points.

1:39 [BOS 87-79] Allen gets away with a push-off on the rebound.

1:41 [BOS 87-79] Loose-ball foul is called on Perkins. Not much of one, but a must-call in the NBA with a spread in the score like this.


1:30 [BOS 87-79] Foul on Allen. He reaches in on Bryant on the three-pointer. Good call.

1:05 [BOS 87-82] This should be a 24-second violation. The ball doesn't hit the rim. A major call in the game. It should be Lakers ball, down five.


Tim Donaghy is a former NBA referee and the author of Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA. Follow him on Facebook here.

Video editing by David Matthews.

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