Educate a lil yourself on the obvious

OAKLAND — This Houston Rockets rage was not about one game.

This wasn’t about Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals, where they fell 104-100 to the Golden State Warriors and left Oracle Arena utterly convinced yet again that the defending champions are getting the benefit of the whistle to a devastating degree.

This wasn’t about emotion — though there was plenty of that. Mike D’Antoni getting his technical in the third quarter, when he chewed on official Zach Zarba’s left ear like it was a rib-eye and nearly got tossed.

Chris Paul losing his cool in the late third quarter, and again near the end regulation when was ejected after the latest no-call left him incensed. James Harden, whose poor shooting night (9-of-28) had everything to do with all those times he believed he should’ve been sent to the line, wanting to rip his Beard out at all those points in between and saying afterward that he just wanted “a fair chance.”

Rockets general manager in Daryl Morey, whose reputation as a leader of the analytics movement is rooted in his ability to let the evidence guide one’s process, sharing his emotional reaction to it all via Twitter when he retweeted Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after the game.

No, this was about the NBA’s most analytically-minded organization deciding long ago that all the data in this heavy-hitter matchup proves their point: The Warriors, as they see it, are getting the kind of officiating edge that simply must be stopped. And Game One – which was refereed by Zarba, Josh Tiven, and Courtney Kirkland – confirmed their fears that this playoff battle with the Warriors might be just as painful as the last when it comes to the officiating.

By the Rockets’ internal count from their video crew, there were eight attempted three-pointers that should have been fouls in Game One – good for 24 free throw attempts that would’ve certainly decided the game. There was insult added to injury on that front as well, with D’Antoni and Harden both saying that officials told them at halftime that they had missed foul calls on four Rockets three-point attempts.

But make no mistake, this is much bigger than one game.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the Rockets have been making a data-driven case with the NBA for quite some time that these Super Team Warriors are getting a major officiating advantage in these heavy-hitter matchups. And of all the specific examples that have been discussed with league officials, none has left them more suspect of the system than the 2018 Western Conference Finals. This series opener, more than anything, was salt being poured directly into that Rockets wound.

When that series ended nearly a year ago, the Rockets’ research had just begun. They secured the play-by-play officiating reports from each game from the NBA – a service that is afforded to individual teams (teams aren’t given reports for other teams, which makes it hard to compare). These reports document the league’s verdict on correct calls and missed calls in the same way as the Last Two Minute reports that are shared publicly, with the obvious difference being that it accounts for all 48 minutes of action.

And after the Rockets went through every line, tallying all the missed calls for each team and adding up the potential points that were lost along the way, it wasn’t pretty: The Rockets, according to the sources, had a double-digit point deficit in six of the seven games (and a small edge in Game 2). In all, sources say, they were harmed to the tune of 93 points. Game Seven was the worst, the research showed, with the league-issued report indicating that they should have had 18 more points. More specifically, two of the 27 consecutive missed three-pointers that did them in were ruled to have been missed foul calls.

What’s more, the same ‘landing space’ play that had the Rockets furious after Game One was a major point of frustration during that series – especially after their Game 7 loss, and with D’Antoni as upset as anyone over the matter. As detailed in this “NBA Video Rulebook” breakdown, defenders are required to allow shooters to “safely return to the floor.”

The vertical jumpshots are the easiest to officiate, but the rule also applies to plays in which the shooter’s momentum carries him to a spot that’s different form where the jump originated. This historical backdrop of this debate wasn’t lost on Rockets officials, either: In Sept. 2017, the NBA instituted a rule that allowed officials to call a flagrant or technical if the defender “recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way” under the shooter; the rule was inspired by then-Golden State center Zaza Pachulia’s placement of his foot under Kawhi Leonard during the 2017 Western Conference Finals, when the then-San Antonio star had his season ended by that ankle injury.

“Call the game how it’s supposed to be called and that’s it,” Harden said. “And I’ll live with the results. …We all know what happened a few years back with Kawhi. That can change the entire series. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called and we’ll live with the results. It’s plain and simple.”

To that end, the Rockets also believe that another one of their allegations was confirmed yet again in Game One: The notion that the league’s more experienced officials are far less willing to call this play in accordance with the rules, as compared to younger officials. Sources say the Rockets raised this research-inspired complaint with the NBA months ago, and it didn’t help matters in their eyes on that front that this game fell right in line with that theory (Zarba is in his 16th season, Tiven is in his ninth, and Kirkland is in his 19th).

When Morey sent that tweet which will likely lead to his latest fine, the “2006” mention sparked an obvious flashback: Cuban’s Mavericks lost to Miami in the 2006 Finals that remain among the most controversial in the league’s history when it comes to the officiating. But there was another key event that year as well, as Morey left the Boston Celtics to join the Rockets as an assistant general manager in April of 2006 en route to building this team wants so badly to end this Warriors run and win the franchise’s first title since 1995.

If they don’t get the calls they believe they deserve this time around, though, this debate will likely rage on into yet another disappointing finish.


I love data and analysis, it’s my job, but without a comparison what does this mean? They need to analyze both teams not just the Rockets.

lmfo what ?

The Rockets, according to the sources, had a double-digit point deficit in six of the seven games (and a small edge in Game 2). In all, sources say, they were harmed to the tune of 93 points.

Hes saying that he is interested to see what the numbers are for warriors as well


They literally just gave whats total of points via mistakes in favor of Warriors which is 93. IE: it can be 193-100 to Warriors, who cares? The total of point that Rockets have been robbed is just absurd.

Also i wanted to post videos and etc last year, but this forum is so fucking pro Warriors and anti Rockets there are usually 0 discussions and just dumb waffling from certain members, so that’s that.

Hmm… You’re overreacting to my post a bit. I’m saying that the Warriors people could go do an analysis too, which would include a similar examination of foul calls, traveling, and more. I wonder what number they’d cook up. Might be close to 93.

Without a comparison. and preferably by a 3rd party, this is just posturing.


I will post you another one homie:

The Houston Rockets believe officiating in last season’s Western Conference finals cost them an NBA championship, and in a report since sent to the league, tabulated the net result of 81 potential missed calls and non-calls in Game 7 of that series between Houston and the Golden State Warriors, according to the report and an accompanying memo, both of which have been obtained by ESPN.

“Referees likely changed the NBA champion,” says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “There can no be no worse result for the NBA.”

The Rockets never actually sent the memo to Spruell because they ended up communicating its messages – including that they believe officiating cost them the 2018 title – during in-person meetings with league officials, according to multiple league sources.

They did present the league with their analysis of Game 7. As first detailed by The Athleticafter Golden State’s controversial Game 1 win in the conference semifinals Sunday night, the Rockets’ analysis uses the NBA’s own official interpretation of the officiating in that Game 7.

The full report obtained by ESPN lists 81 total calls, non-calls and violations. It concludes that those 81 instances cost Houston a total of 18.6 points in that game.

In its own reports, the league does not issue point values to missed calls and non-calls.

“As we told the Rockets, we do not agree with their methodology,” Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, told ESPN on Monday.

The league provided Houston with what is essentially a full-game version for Game 7 of the last two-minute report it releases after close games. The report lists incorrect calls; fouls and violations that should have been called but weren’t; fouls and violations that would only have been visible, according to the league, with enhanced video review; and uncalled “potential infractions” where the league cannot come to a definitive conclusion on whether a foul was merited.

The Rockets appear to have included all such instances in the report, including those that benefited the Warriors. For instance: with about 6:10 remaining in the first quarter, Stephen Curry drove on the right side of the floor. Gerald Green, the Rocket defending Curry, placed his right arm on Curry’s hip as Curry rose for a layup. There was no call. The NBA flagged it as a “potential infraction” – inconclusive, according to Houston’s analysis. The Rockets counted that as a mistake that cost the Warriors 1.8 points – a figure that appears to have been derived from Curry’s career free throw percentage.

Similarly, the Houston report flagged an uncalled foul on a James Harden missed layup, but the Rockets retained control of the ball and scored; Houston in its analysis counted that as a net benefit to themselves of 0.3 points – the difference between the actual basket they scored and the expected value of two Harden free throws.

The Rockets attached such point values in every instance in their own analysis. With about 10:40 left in the third quarter, Eric Gordon lost the ball when he dribbled it off Curry’s foot. In the game, it was a live-ball turnover. The league deemed it a “potential infraction” kicked ball on Curry, according to Houston’s analysis – meaning it might have been a kick, but there is no way to tell conclusively. The Rockets counted that as 1.1 points lost, using what appears to have been an estimate of their average half-court points per possession, according to league sources. (They used that 1.1 figure for all such plays that ended Houston possessions.)

Another: with about 5:05 remaining in the third quarter, Trevor Ariza attempted a runner from just outside the restricted area and made contact with Curry, who tried to draw a charge. No call was made. The league’s report flagged that as another inconclusive “potential infraction,” according to Houston’s analysis. Houston counted it as 1.7 lost points – again using Ariza’s free throw percentage.

With about 8:55 left in the third quarter, Kevon Looney rebounded a Klay Thompson missed 3-pointer. As Looney went up for a put-back, Gordon made some contact with him that went uncalled. Looney missed. Looney jumped to try to tip the ball in, and Harden leaped to block Looney’s shot – making some contact with Looney’s arm and upper body. Again, no call was made. The loose ball ricocheted to Curry, who passed it to Kevin Durant for an open 3-pointer which went in.

The league cited Harden’s attempted block as a potential infraction – a possible foul, but one the league could not say conclusively was a foul even upon review, according to Houston’s analysis. Houston concluded that the non-call cost them two points. Had the officials called the foul on Harden, Looney would have gone to the line for two shots. He is a 61 percent career foul shooter; Houston attached an expected value of one point to a Looney two-shot trip to the line. But the foul was not called, and Durant hit a 3-pointer – two more points than the Warriors would have been expected to score, under Houston’s accounting, had the officials whistled Harden.

Houston found the biggest negative impact on “landing spot” fouls on Harden 3-pointers – the same calls that caused an eruption of controversy after Sunday’s Game 1, when Harden went to the floor on several attempted 3-pointers. Some of those appear to have been uncalled fouls, according to this description Sunday night from Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president for replay and referee operations. But Borgia said Sunday referees were correct in not calling a “landing spot” foul on Draymond Green’s challenge of Harden’s potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds; Harden jackknifed his legs forward, Borgia said, invading space to which Green was entitled. (The last two-minute report, released Monday afternoon, confirmed Borgia’s analysis.)

The report from last year’s Game 7 cites uncalled “landing spot” fouls, including a missed Harden 3-pointer with about 3:40 left in the second quarter on which Jordan Bellleaped into Harden’s landing space. The referees did not call a foul, but the league subsequently concluded they should have, the Houston report says. (The league indeed deemed that a foul on Bell, sources say.)

In their memo – which, again, the Rockets did not end up sending because they communicated its message in person instead – Houston recommended adding a fourth on-court referee, and that the league make full-game officiating reports available to every team for every game. They also claim a trip to the Finals would have netted at least $20 million in additional revenue.

The Rockets also argue in their memo that veteran officials “exhibit the most bias against our players.”

“The reason we are in this situation,” the memo says, “is the efforts made to improve the referees have been too slow, not extensive enough, and have been held back by entrenched referees who are resisting reform.” The Rockets recommended that referee assignments in the postseason should be determined “exclusively” by call accuracy without regard to experience level.

What Quantum is saying is right. Rockets claim the refs cost them 93 points but there is no way for them to know how many points did bad calls cost the Warriors. For all we know it could be 93 to 91 and it wouldn’t make a difference in the outcome of the series.


I appreciate their ‘data-driven’ approach, but attaching expected point values to allegedly missed calls is a pretty haphazard methdology. And again, unless there’s a 3rd party analyzing both sides with a defensible methdology, I am not moved by Morey’s posturing.



This is a huge smoking gun. They claim it isn’t conclusive and still attach an expected point value to it. This is methodological witchcraft. GTFOH.


I am the first to admit that I am 100% biased on this. I wouldn’t mind at All if those weak ass flopping players (CP3 and Harden) never win a chip due to referees. I would call it karma balancing out. I hate their “smart” play with a passion and Love seeing them not being rewarded for it.


Everywhere CP3 goes, the team becomes whiny about the refs and filled with flopping. Shouldn’t have missed 27 straight 3s buddy :upside_down_face:


25 closeouts from last night, both teams. I’m not implying anything, it’s just an interesting video.

The officiating was bad-to-awful last night and they ruined the game.
But no Rocket fan mentioned Curry being undercut by Harden, even though he didn’t move forward at all.

And noone mentiones stuff like Harden grabbing Looney’s arm to draw the foul.

He got 3-4 non-existant fouls called in nearly every game throughout the season.
He brought it onto himself.
You can’t throw yourself onto the ground on every single 3pt attempt.
“stepback 3”. If he’s stepping back, how do his feet end up closer to the defender compared to the initial spot before the stepback?

And that last play? The man literally looked for the foul without even trying to score.
Refereeing is was bad, but I’ll never have respect for a player who’s looking to draw the foul as the first option even though he’s built like a tank.

Maybe Pringles should work on his offense instead telling his players to shoot like 20 contested 3pts per game, which aren’t good shots for anyone.


I honestly have seen some of the worst officiating ever this year… for pretty much every team. I can’t say for certain which team in the NBA benefitted the most from bad calls, but the new refs suck hard.

I would like to see reports from other teams in order to have a larger data pool that would give reference numbers that could help show how inflated/deflated the Rocket’s numbers are… but, it could be possible the Rockets have received the biggest shaft from the NBA. Who knows?

Honestly though, without the full data to give a conclusive result, I find it hard to believe the Rockets don’t get (at a minimum) an even number of calls. This is a team I’ve personally witnessed other teams guard with their arms behind their backs to avoid excessive foul calls that no other teams gets…


This is interesting to say the least. Not picking sides but is it normal for a team to set aside resources to do an investigation on another team?

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You can’t analyze one side and not do it for the other. Without concession your analysis looks a bit bias and with with the overreaction to others pointing this out it seems you are indeed bias

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Foul hunters is all i see/saw all year.

The problem is that the refs are their own entity and noone controls them.
Therefore we constantly have same refs ruining games.

There should be a supervisor committee that grades refs after every game.
You make a terrible, game-deciding mistake near the end of the game? You’re out for a month.
You constantly make mistakes that don’t really affect the outcome, but are still bad calls? You’re out for a month.

If you still make those same mistakes when you come back, you’re out for good.

But on the other hand, refs are in tough position because there’s more and more players that look to draw the foul instead of actually playing basketball.
I’d hand out suspensions for that too.
But in today’s league hanging after dunk or staring down your opponent is considered much worse than flopping.
Soccer has a huge flopping issue, but if you flop and ref sees it, you get a yellow card. Two flops, your’e out.
Flopping and complaining afterwards should be instant tech.


Yeah but how many free throws did the rockets shoot vs th3 warriors?