NBA Finals 2022 – The rules, plays, and processes referees will be closely watching

There are so many moments that can swing the series in the NBA playoffs: a buzzer beating 3-pointer or a late and-1 basket, or an alley oop dunk in front a home crowd.

Sometimes, it's the whistle from the referee. Late-game blocks/charge calls or an overturned basket could make all the difference between who advances to the next round.

With the Golden State Warriors And Boston Celtics The best-of-3 series is in the works NBA FinalsWhat will officials be looking for? What are the most important games?

ESPN NBA insider Tim MacMahon sat down with Monty McCutchen for the X and O's on challenges. He discussed how Finals officials were chosen, the protocol for removing points after a review, and whether the NBA senior vice president of referee development should be expanded.


What are the reviewable parameters during a NBA match? Is any of these parameters extended during the playoffs.

“Nothing gets expanded. Our preseason rules for October are the same as our conference finals rules for June. [the NBA] Finals. This is a crucial distinction.

“Reviewable Matters are a bit more difficult [to explain]Because we have 16 triggers Each one has their own reviewable areas. That is something we are trying to unify. You can check to see if there was a shot-clock violation. You can check if someone is being honest. [was out of bounds when they] Jumped before the shot. You can see if there was an 8-second violation.

On coaches' challengesReviewable matters include goaltending, foul calling, and out of bounds. Your team. Let's assume that your opponent's fouler is the best, but you call it on the seventh man. It's their best player. You cannot challenge that. You must call it on your team.”


Referees can overturn another call that they see while reviewing another.

There is a difference between a challenge and a review. Let's assume it's a challenge for the coach. If not, we will call it a defense foul. It is possible to get the play correctly called if it is clear, conclusive and close to the play. You cannot go to pick-and roll and see another play that you didn’t call (a guy pushing off in the corner) and get that play correctly called. You can only challenge what is tied to the play.


How has the review process changed over time? What is the review process for a call?

“Anytime we have a highly publicized play, the competition board takes it into consideration. Instant replay was used to allow for last-second shots. It was only one paragraph in our rulebook. It now spans 4 1/2 pages.

The playoffs are the most important part of the year. One season, we noticed that we incorrectly called a lot off-ball fouls when someone was shooting. Because it is often illegal to call a play illegal, it can take time to whistle the whistle. While the shot's in air, we can see that the first illegal contact was made before.

So play is often the determinant of change. If we notice a change in play style, it can be a sign that play has changed. Clear-path fouls were difficult to adjudicate in real-time. Therefore, it was added as a penalty with two free throws plus the ball. All of this happens organically.


What is the official procedure for retroactively removing points from the board? Max Strus“Made shot during Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals, between the Miami Heat And Boston Celtics? What point is it considered non-reviewable?

“We know there is no point of return. Although this rule has been in effect for more than 15 to 20 years, the way it worked in the past is no longer valid. [a referee] They would make a little twirly bird signal, and then they'd look at the next timeout in order to determine if it was a 2-pointer. If one occurred at, say, 11:52 in the third quarter, they'd do the little twirly-bird signal and go to look at the next timeout to see if it was a 2-pointer or a 3.

“Several years back, we decided to accelerate play to make it take less time. We also made the decision that all 2s or 3s that were initiated by replay centers would be reviewed. Because every 2 and 3 is triggered, referees no longer give the twirlybird signal.

“When one occurs in Game 7, it received more attention. But there were 15 other instances where points were removed from the board this season by a team — including Miami — throughout the year. There were hundreds of close calls to being out-of-bounds. They would have reviewed this in-house. Let's suppose Strus was inbounds by two to three inches. It would have still been reviewed.

“I want my fans to be aware of one thing: the process is faster now. We used to wait for the mandatory timeout before we could go and review it as referees. Instead of waiting for the mandatory timeout to occur much later, we were now able to communicate the issue back to the table. It was corrected at 8:28. This saved several minutes.

“We cannot announce them in live action. No one wants to interrupt the flow of disappointment as the ball is being dribbled up. It can be very disruptive to play if you hear the announcement while you're making a layup. Secondarily, it would be very confusing for the team if we took off points in live action without declaring it. They might look up and see that they have three points, but not understand why, and then argue about it during live play. Therefore, we believe the best time to do it is when there's no one around.

“Now, in Strus’ instance, there had been two dead balls before it was announced. Both were quick. The first was out-of-bounds in our backcourt, where we give them ball as soon as possible. The second was slightly more confusing because of a defensive three. [seconds] The announcement was not made because of the involvement. It was only 30 seconds before it was announced. We didn't think it made a difference to the game's outcome.


Is there any emphasis given to referees during playoffs and Finals?

Notice: Teams receive points-of-emphasis videos each month during the regular season as well as playoffs.

“The driving force of this is to allow teams and coaches to work to it. My group must do consistent work from October to December to December, January to February. This is because they have spent so much time coaching. The playoffs are the only time we change things.

“One thing I do in playoffs is remind my group that we did really well with non-basketball moves last year. Don't let up. You can't let up. We've proved it, I believe. [that criticism wrong] Over the past few years.

“Don't mistake my enthusiasm for consistency for perfection. We are often late for calls. We all miss calls. “It's important that we don’t give in to the belief that this is a playoff foul. … “I don't drive that.”


How is referee evaluation done? What criteria are used to determine which referees will call the Finals?

The process for determining who referees the playoff games in the first round is the same as it is for the Finals. Each round, we go through the process.

“Referee operations are comprised of Joey Crawford and E.F. Rush, Mark Wunderlich Bennett Salvatore, Bernie Fryer. Six of us make up the referee operation, which is known as the “experts”. This term is not used with any sense of arrogance. However, we have dedicated our lives and are deeply concerned about this subject. We have also worked hard to learn the nuances of our craft.

“We make up some percentage, but the teams make up some percentage. [so does] The analytical department. This is independent reviewers. This isn't ex-referees. It's trained reviewers. They grade every call and non-call for referees throughout the season — thousands to thousands of decisions per referee.

“We placed it in the matrix, and it gave us 36 names. Next, we move to 28 for round two, 20 for round three and 12 for round twelve. [for the Finals].

“If someone is.0008 apart in our matrix, then we discuss it as a group. This is the team that I work with, the analytical team, and my team. [NBA] This is not something that teams can do. But [president of league operations] Joe Dumars and Byron Spruell in their roles [as executive vice president, head of basketball operations]Kiki VanDeWeghe was the original Kiki. [referees] The matrix allows us to see how people are connected.

You can't be out there making a lot of calls, expect your strength and courage to override it. As experts, we know where the players should be standing and when they should show up in overtime. This is a crucial factor in the playoffs as it is difficult to make tough decisions and there is so much pressure. We must recognize that some people are better at handling pressure than others. We must help those who don't manage it. They won't have the best chances until they do.

“It's very comparable to what coaches do when they have younger players, developing and preparing them for a role in a rotation.”


The last-two-minute (L2M) reports The morning after the NBA Finals games, it was huge news. Is there any discussion about expanding that timeframe? What is the overall assessment of the reports' success?

“We've been extremely successful being transparent. These things are very important to us. Every day, we discuss these matters. We go in every day to look at slow replays and all other details. It is something we take very seriously.

It takes 15 reviewers between eight and nine hours to complete one full game we give to teams. We can't get it out the next morning before 9 a.m. If we increase that to 13-game nights, 12 of them will go to L2M reports that could turn into a whole-game or fourth quarter report. It is a logistical problem that prevents us from training people to give meaningful reports.

“We believe the two minute mark is the best. It is a good mirror of our rulebook, as it contains all rule changes that occur within two minutes. We had to choose one line and that was it. Although we are considering expanding the reports, it is not possible to do so right now and have it out on time.

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