Thibodeau's, Wittman's opinions differ on NBA foul reviews

Thibodeau's, Wittman's opinions differ on NBA foul reviews
April 22, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Mark Strotman

On each of the first two nights of the 2014 NBA playoffs, a call was made by an official that was deemed incorrect the follow day by the NBA.

And though none of the 51 personal fouls committed Sunday night in Game 1 of the Bulls-Wizards series, both head coaches have strong opinions when it comes to the front office admitting fault the day after a game.

"All that does it get me even more riled up," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I let our front office deal with that. It doesn't do me any good to have somebody tell me they blew a call. Those guys are human like we are. They make mistakes like we do. But I don't like it."

In the final minute of Game 1 between the Warriors and Clippers on Saturday, Chris Paul lost the ball out of bounds after Draymond Green had reached in and tried to poke the ball away. It gave the Warriors, who led by two, possession, and they went on to take that game, 109-105. The NBA announced a day later, in a statement from NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn, that "prior to the ball going out-of-bounds, Paul was fouled by Green and Paul should have been granted two free throws."

[MORE: Thibodeau finishes third in Coach of the Year voting]

That night Dwight Howard fouled out in overtime of Game 1 between the Rockets and Blazers after he was called for an over-the-back foul on Portland center Joel Freeland, who had his arms wrapped around Howard in an attempt to box him out. Had a foul on Freeland been called, Howard would have gone to the line with a chance to give the Rockets the lead with 10.8 seconds left. Instead, Freeland hit a free throw on the other end and the Trail Blazers prevailed, 122-120.

Thorn and the NBA again issued a release the following day, Monday, noting "(a)fter video review by the league office, we have determined that the officials were incorrect in assessing a foul to the Rockets' Dwight Howard with 10.8 seconds remaining in overtime. The foul should have been called on the Blazers' Joel Freeland and Howard should have been awarded two free throws."

Video reviews are allowed in the final two minutes, but only to determine time on the shot or game clock and possession. Fouls may not be called after the fact, and for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau it's something he doesn't try to wrap himself up in.

"The league has done a good job with (reviews), and I think the more you're around, the more you understand there's a lot of these calls that are 50/50, they could go either way. And so in this time of the year, you're in the playoffs, just because of what's going on and each team knows each other so well and there's so much at stake, there's going to be plays that may not go your way, and you're not going to get calls sometimes," he said. "You have to be ready to move on to the next play, to do your job to the best of your ability, to make that commitment for the team. If you get wrapped up with an official now you're not thinking about the things that you have to do to help the team win."

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Thibodeau never said whether or not he cared for league statements the following day on incorrect calls, only saying that officials have a difficult job to do and, more often than not, make the correct call.

"I think everyone in their job, you want to get them all right. It's not going to happen. They get a lot of them right, and they're really good. When you go back and look, sometimes you replay a play many times and you still can't tell what's right, and most of the time they're on it. These guys are great pros, they're not here by accident and that's part of the game and I think they're utilizing the technology well. So it's all a plus. Just don't get caught up in it, they're human, too. Just lock in to doing your job."