That ball hit the ref and bounced back into the court... shouldn't they have played on?In a word, no. NBA Rule 8-II-a specifies, "the ball is out-of-bounds when it touches a player who is out-of-bounds or any other person, the floor, or any object on, above or outside of a boundary of the supports or back of the backboard." A referee qualifies as "any other person."
Similar language appears in the college (NCAA 7-1-2) and high school (NFHS 7-2-a-2) rules books.
Video: Butler's block careens into Richardson's head; OOB correctly called (LAC/NBA TV)
2012-13 TFFL: Day 83 (11 Games, 4 Technicals, 1 Flop Discipline).
542: 15 Bennett Salvatore, 42 Eric Lewis, 76 Steven Anderson. Heat's Cole; 2nd, 9:09.
The Miami Heat ultimately won the contest, defeating the Toronto Raptors in 1OT, 123-116.
543: 7 Kevin Fehr, 30 John Goble, 55 Bill Kennedy. Lakers' Bryant; 4th, 8:04.
The Memphis Grizzlies ultimately won the contest, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers, 106-93.
544: 14 Ed Malloy, 65 Sean Wright, 31 Scott Wall. Timberwolves' Porter; 3rd, 8:40.
The Brooklyn Nets ultimately won the contest, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves, 91-83.
545: 19 James Capers, 66 Haywoode Workman, 59 Gary Zielinski. Thunder's Sefolosha; 2nd, 0:00.0.
The Golden State Warriors ultimately won the contest, defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-99.
Flopping 16: OKC Kevin Martin (2nd, $5,000 fine), Thunder vs. Nuggets (1/20/13, Video [Foul Called = No]).
2012-13 TFFL: Day 82 (4 Games, 1 Technical).
The Detroit Pistons ultimately won the contest, defeating the Orlando Magic, 105-90.
541: 9 Derrick Stafford, 63 Derek Richardson, 40 Leon Wood. Clippers' Odom; 4th, 0:32.6.
The Oklahoma City Thunder ultimately won the contest, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-97.