NBA / May 27, 2010 / 4:15 pm

The Scope Of Instant Replay Must Be Broadened

After about eight years of various sports leagues adopting instant replay, the success has been undeniable. Of course, there have still been errors made across the board, but this is one instance where technology both aids and trumps human judgment. The NBA first instituted instant replay at the start of the 2002-03 season after what happened in the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Samaki Walker of the Lakers hit a half court shot as time expired going into halftime and the refs said that it counted. But replays showed that the ball was still in his hands as the backboard light went on. The Kings lost the game by one, and the Lakers went on to win the NBA Championship.

Later, the NBA allowed referees to review replays to determine whether a player’s foot was on the line while attempting a three-pointer. Again, this has only enhanced the quality of the game. As Sam Smith notes in The Jordan Rules, an NBA referee must make more judgment calls over the course of a game than referees in any other sport. There is contact on every possession that could technically constitute a foul, but contact is part of the game and, necessarily, so is a referee’s discretion.

This is why the Celtics’ loss last night is so troubling. Kendrick Perkins was whistled for a technical foul with 36 seconds left in the second quarter that players, fans and analysts alike knew was going to be overturned today. It was that egregious. So ridiculous that even Jeff Van Gundy was irate.

This is why referees must be able to review questionable foul calls, both personal and technical, after the play. Not after the game.

Not every call is questionable, but there have been countless times that referees have conferred after a foul has been called or a ball has gone out of bounds and reversed a decision. While allowing referees to review foul calls would lengthen the game (a complaint that the MLB has dealt with), the integrity of the game and, more, the implications that one call may have on the outcome, trumps such minor considerations.

Last night, the referees also would have been able to upgrade Paul Pierce‘s fourth quarter flagrant foul to a Flagrant 1 during the course of the game, and not after. Although this would have had less effect on the Celtics’ strategy during the remainder of the game, even for the NBA’s sake, downgraded and upgraded foul calls should not happen after the game is over.

Bill Simmons has been both one of the biggest critics of NBA officiating and amongst the most loyal NBA fans, tweeting last night, “FYI: that was Perkins’ 7th tech and he’s suspended for Game 6. We just potentially saw a ref swing a playoff series. Congrats, NBA,” and “Donaghy just signed another book deal.” Undoubtedly, Simmons was not the only one who had these thoughts, so why should the NBA allow this to continue? I can only imagine that whatever the Magic fan said to referee Joe DeRosa last week that resulted in DeRosa throwing a ball at him involved being called Donaghy.

Even if Perkins played the remainder of the game last night, it looked like the Magic were determined to win the game. But now, heading into Game 6, we’ll never know.

What do you think? Did Perkins’ ejection effect the outcome of the game? Should the scope of instant replay be broadened?

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  • hahns

    like football, coaches should be able to signal a video review a few times per game. 2x per game would be useful.

  • http://diaryofatiredblackman.wordpress.com/ Cal

    That Perkins call was a crime. I’m tellin you all, something is amidst. I truly believe that someones got a lil money on the game because if you take out Perk, he’s not a star so u still got the main draws to the game. But, he hurts the Celts defense so much, the Magic have a distinct advantage now on the offensive end.
    http://diaryofamiseducatedblackman.com/2010/05/27/a-united-city-defeats-a-nation/

  • http://bt.davka.info/ Sparkyjay23

    Stern must be shitting a fuckin brick at all this criticism of his precious refs.

  • Joe’s Momma

    They recinded the wrong Tec. They let the elbow to Gortat stand when obviously it wasn’t blatant and Gortat walked up to the celtic players after he was a few feet away. It might have been intentional, but Perkins doesn’t look that smart to fake like it slipped and hit Gortat.

    But they rescinded the one where he turned and cursed. That would be more rational to keep as a tec as we do not know exactly what he said.

    But Perkins in an idiot, he argues every call. Even when he does committ a foul. A guy like that has no credibility. And the whole celtics team bitches to the officials the whole game, even Rondo has gotten into the act.

    The refs are terrible. That was an obvious shove to Pierce on Reddick that was “excessive contact”

    And they upgraded the elbow of Howards that slightly caught KG in the dome, KG kills dudes with his elbows, and he hasn’t gotten a flagrant other than the suspension for popping Q.

    There is no rhyme or reason these chumps have, they just willy nilly upgrade bullshit.

    Stern is Napoleon, Sheed said it best!

    What the hell is with all the injuries??? Celtic bench players are trying to pull a Paul Pierce and act injured? The gooch one I can get, man that boy was flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water, but Daniels? It didn’t look like he got hit hard.

  • Mr.McBuckets

    The bottom line is the NBa is weak. You can’t touch somebody without getting a foul called. Jordan and Thomas used to get smashed when they drove in. Now they call flagrants for nothing. My point is that the NBA is messing up the game with instant replay if they use it for fouls. Isn’t part of the excitement about being able to dispute a call the ref made, being able to argue with your friends about calls? They taking away everything that made the NBA good. Why u think it’s no replay in baseball? Imagine if they used replay n it was no more umpires and coaches argueing?
    N about that Perkins call. Yall need to get off of that. Everybody that played organized ball knows you don’t run your mouth at the refs n think u gonna get away with it all the time. If u don’t want a tech, then shut ur mouth. U know they callin a tight game. If he turned his back or not, he still was runnin his mouth and throwing a fit. Ask Rasheed, Artest, and Rodman, they learned to shut up and just play. The NBA, where cry babies are born.

  • http://www.myspace.com/40sand9s Loc

    Let the refs be the refs,

    let whatever calls they make stand. Even the next day!

    Right now, I really feel the nba has no faith in their employees. I basically hate instant replay across the board, it slows things down, and its annoying when too much technology gets into sports.

  • Alvin

    But back to technology and refereeing:

    In the near future it will be possible to use all sorts of non-video technology to make certain calls automatically and uniformly in basketball and other sports.

    The use of sensors buried or embedded on the court or field will be able to tell whether for example, a ball or player was out of bounds or stepped on the three point line. Nano-technology (using “smart materials”) will be able to tell whether a ball left a player’s hand before the clock expired.

    Radio frequency chips embedded in a baseball or football along with a sensor on home plate or the goal line (or perhaps using GPS technology) will be able to call balls and strikes uniformly as well as deciding whether a running back actually crossed the goal line when a referee has to dis-assemble a scrum of 5-10 three hundred pound men to find out whether he moved the ball across.

    This another uses of technology are probably feasible today. The only obstacle(s) will be whether the players, coaches, owners, fans and officials are willing to use them.

    They can be implemented without the need for interruption of a game whereby a ref has to look at a video monitor for 3-4 minutes, etc. A signal from the chip embedded in the ball (for example) would activate a light or buzzer or something that identifies an out of bounds or foul ball, etc.

    For more, see: http://historicalaccident.blogspot.com/2009/05/technology-and-sports-referees.html

  • http://www.funny-textmessages.com Funny Texts

    I guess it doesn’t matter what Willis was talking about anymore…