A pair of admissions by the NBA’s league office this week have officiating at the forefront of this year’s playoffs. NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn joined SiriusXM NBA Radio Tuesday to address those admissions.
Earlier this week, Thorn and the league let it be known that officials botched a pair of calls in the weekend’s playoff action; a foul that was incorrectly assessed to Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, and a missed foul call that resulted in a turnover by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul. Thorn explained the NBA’s move toward transparency to Jason Goff.
“The thinking behind it, Jason, was simply that in today’s age, any egregiously missed call, everybody in America sees it, and the foreign countries are watching too,” Thorn said. “So to keep your head down and say you don’t see it would be remiss of us. So we decided that – everybody’s seeing it anyway, it’s been on TV, it’s been all over the place – we decided that if it materially affected the game, that we would make some statement.”
Along with the increase in the usage of late-game instant replay has come the debate over whether officials should “let players play” more late in games than they do earlier in games. Thorn agreed with former NBA coach Sam Mitchell that games should be called the same, regardless of time, score or players.
“I think that once we instituted these instant replay triggers – of which we have 14 going on 20, right now – that if there was thinking like that in the past, you sure can’t have it today,” Thorn said. “Because once you go over, you can only look at whether the ball [in the play involving the Clippers and Golden State Warriors] went out of bounds [not if there was a foul committed on the play]. So you have to award it the proper way. So, to your point about time and score, if it’s a legitimate foul, it’s a legitimate foul. Don’t worry about what the time and score is, or who the foul is on; call the foul.”
For analysis and interviews throughout the process, tune to SiriusXM NBA Radio, channel 217, and follow @SiriusXMNBA on Twitter.