The MJ treatment sucks all the fun out of the game

I’d just like to briefly voice my displeasure with the final call of last night’s game against the Cavs. I’m not talking about the 3 seconds call, which was the correct call even though the refs picked a ridiculously horrible time to call 3 seconds for the first time all game. I’m talking about the play where LeBron James pump faked, prompting Courtney Lee to slightly jump vertically into the air. While Lee was in the air, James lowered his shoulder into Lee’s chest and then put up a jumper. The referee called the foul right at the contact. It was a horrible call, and this type of call might be the biggest problem I have with NBA officiating. LeBron James initiated the contact. Lee jumped straight up into the air, not even challenging the shot. The rulebook says that if a player jumps straight into the air, you have to give that player the opportunity to land. James didn’t do that, lowering his shoulder and instigating the contact. There are often plays where a shooter gets the defender in the air, gets bumped and puts up a jumper. It’s the right call when the defender gets stuck in the air going toward the shooter — Dwyane Wade has made a living off getting to the free-throw line this way. Last night Courtney Lee was only a couple inches off the ground, he wasn’t extended, and he didn’t jump toward the shooter. He realized what James was doing and pulled back, but the refs gave James the call anyway. Giving James that call sucked all the fun out of the game. It wasn’t quality basketball. It would’ve been quality basketball if he really sold the pump fake and got Lee to challenge the shot – but that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, we saw the Michael Jordan treatment. And if LeBron wouldn’t have gotten that call and the Cavs would’ve lost, James would’ve been screaming to the press about poor officiating. NBA refs are really in a lose-lose situation, but the worst thing you can do is reward the superstars for being crybabies. It’s been going on for decades and will continue to go on for decades, but it’s really no fun and incredibly disappointing.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily