Saturday, January 21, 2012

NBA Pacers vs. Warriors: George Hill Kicks Ball, Did Referees Kick Call?

With the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors deadlocked at 91 with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation, Warriors guard Monta Ellis was dribbling near half court, preparing to set his team up for a potential game winning shot.

Instead, Pacers guard George Hill made sure that didn't happen.
As Ellis attempted a standard crossover dribble in front of a closely-guarding Hill, Hill moved his right leg, ultimately contacting the loose basketball with his foot and deflecting the ball into his waiting hands for a game-winning steal and layup.

But was Hill's takeaway legal or did a referee miss the call?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Utah Jazz player Derrick Favors Ejected for Throwing Ball into Stands: Why It's a Good Call

Ever since Metta World Peace nee Ron Artest's famous malice at the palace incident in Detroit, wherein Artest climbed into the spectator viewing area known as "the stands" and began punching away, the NBA and Commissioner David Stern have attempted to repair the game's image by separating unsporting activity which occurs on the court and taunts, jeers, boo's and cheers which originate from the stands.

On Thursday night, Utah Jazz center-forward Derrick Favors was ejected by official Matt Boland on the spot for throwing a ball into the stands after Boland correctly called an offensive foul against him.

While many fans are criticizing referee Boland for immediately ejecting Favors after issuing him only one technical foul for throwing the ball into the stands, the player's actions necessitated his ejection.

Boland was correct to eject Favors for this behavior and here's why.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Roy Williams' Original FSU Plan Was to Pull Entire Team: UNC is Lucky That Didn't Happen

The very first page of the 2011-12 NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Rules Book is titled, "Respect. It's the name of the game." On Saturday, UNC got very close to violating that basic tenet of collegiate sport.

With the FSU Seminoles on the verge of a 33-point upset over the then-No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels, UNC head coach Roy Williams appeared to pull his bench from the court in the game's final moments as hundreds of excited FSU fans prepared to rush the court, leaving behind five walk-ons to finish the game.

Given the circumstances, the decision for UNC's bench to leave the court before the final horn was a sensible choice made in the interest of safety.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Indisputably Controversial: The Fumble That Wasn't

The New York Giants trounced the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, 37-20, to earn a trip to the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 2007 season. The Giants beat down on the Packers ended up making a very controversial call by Bill Leavy irrelevant at game's end. However, this call still created outrage among Giants fans and was one of the most discussed calls of the weekend.  The play happened with 1:45 remaining in the 1st Quarter, when Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a short pass, gaining five yards. At first glance, it appeared Jennings was down at the Giants 33 yard line, but the ball had come loose. The Giants recovered the ball, as the officials let the play remain live. However, after quick consultation, the ruling on the field was that Jennings was determined to be down by contact prior to fumbling the ball. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin quickly challenged the play, contending that Jennings had lost the ball prior to being down by contact.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pivotal Saints Fumble and the Defenseless Player

Twitter was abuzz Saturday afternoon during the New Orleans Saints-San Francisco 49ers divisional playoff game with "helmet to helmet" at top of trending topics across the United States. Tweets containing the hot topic blazed across Twitter immediately following a fumble by Saints running back Pierre Thomas in the 1st Quarter. Replays brought subsequent displeasure from Saints fans (and others quick to criticize officials), but not because they thought Pierre was down by contact.

The Saints were putting together a strong, sustained drive and were threatening to score with the ball 3rd & 5 at the 49ers seven yard line. Saints quarterback Drew Brees took the snap with 8:56 remaining in the quarter and threw a dump screen pass to Thomas, who caught the ball at the five yard line. Thomas then turned toward the end zone, but was met with a hard hit from 49ers safety Donte Whitner at the two yard line. The hit caused Thomas to fumble the football, which was recovered by the 49ers. The 49ers would go on to win, 36-32, with an Alex Smith touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with 14 seconds left in the game after a back and forth duel in the final minutes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Controversial End to Los Angeles High School Basketball Game Highlights Scoreboard Deficiency

A controversial ending to a competitive game during the Johnnie C. Cochran Basketball Classic may have been due to an all-too common problem with older model scoreboards.

When Serra and Price began their contest on Saturday night, it was a back and forth contest that saw Serra go on a 28-3 run, followed immediately by a 11-0 run by Price. By the game's final possession, Price led 49-47 and Serra had the ball looking for the tie or game-winner.

That's when the controversy took hold. Serra's Emmanuel Ndumanya rebounded a teammate's miss with one second left, immediately jumping back up and releasing the ball as the buzzer sounded for a game-tying layup—or so Serra thought.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Common Sense: In Interest of Player Safety, UNC Correct to Leave Floor Before Game's End

North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams and Florida State University Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton mutually agreed to pull the UNC bench from the playing area in the waning moments of FSU's blowout victory on Saturday.

Although NCAA Basketball rules require bench personnel remain seated and head coaches to remain in their designated coaching box while the ball is live with limited exceptions, for officials Jamie Luckie, Mike Eades and Sean Corbin, the move was a no-brainer.
Ranked No. 3 nationally, UNC was losing by the lopsided sum of 90-57 with just 14.2 seconds remaining in regulation. A huge win for FSU, Seminoles fans were gathering around the court, eager for the second half to expire so they could rush the court, a college tradition of sorts.

That's when both coaches and Luckie met at the scorer's table to discuss player safety—with UNC far out of striking distance, Williams had waved the white flag and was contemplating how to most securely get his team from their bench to their locker room. After all, the primary goal of the rules is to maximize the safety and enjoyment of the student-athlete.

The last thing UNC and FSU needed was a repeat of Florida-Vanderbilt from several years ago, when the  Vanderbilt Commodores defeated the then-No. 1 Florida Gators. When Commodores fans rushed the court in that contest, at least one punch was thrown by Florida's Brandon Powell at a Vanderbilt fan.