NBA Finals Ref Report: Game 3

Posted by Superior on Jun 10th, 2009 and filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

nba-gamesDespite what a few desperate Orlando Magic fans might try to tell you, these Finals have really been free of any controversies surrounding the officiating. (You want goaltending? Please. This, my friends, is what goaltending looks like.) But that all might change in Game 3, if you go by the reputations of the crew that’s been assigned to work this one.

Your referees for tonight: Joey Crawford, Derrick Stafford, and Mark Wunderlich. If something is going to go terribly wrong with one or more calls in this series, well, Tuesday night is going to be the night.

Crawford’s crews have been responsible for some games that have had just a ton of free throws in these playoffs, as well as the ones that have had some quickly-called technical fouls.

In Game 1 of the Lakers-Jazz series, we saw the teams shoot a combined 67 free throws, and get whistled for three technical fouls. In Game 3 of the Magic-Cavs series, we saw a ridiculous 86 free throws, along with a flagrant foul and a couple of technicals for good measure.

Yes, the whistles come early and often with a Crawford-led crew, and the games tend to be over-officiated to the point where they become extremely frustrating to watch, no matter which team you’re rooting for. And if that isn’t enough to make you a little anxious about this aspect of tonight’s Game 3, there’s something else to consider: the recent history of Mark Wunderlich.

Wunderlich was the lead official in Game 5 of the Bulls-Celtics series. You remember — the game where Rajon Rondo tried to take Brad Miller’s head off at the end of overtime to prevent an easy layup. That play should clearly have been called a flagrant foul, but Wunderlich let it go, and Miller — while bleeding from a cut in his mouth that would later require stitches — missed the game-tying free throws.

Okay, so maybe you’re a Celtics fan that didn’t exactly see it that way — fine. Then here are two more Wunderlich specials that you’ll surely remember. The no-call on the intentional foul at the end of Game 3 of the Mavericks-Nuggets series, which allowed Carmelo Anthony to hit a clutch three-pointer to put Denver up three games to none and effectively clinch the series. And, Wunderlich also swallowed the whistle during a big play from last year’s playoffs: the one involving Derek Fisher and Brent Barry at the end of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and the Spurs.

Once again, we’ll hope for the best tonight, with little or no interference from the officials in determining the outcome of this game. But if something does go down, don’t say we didn’t see it coming.

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