Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is the latest NBA figure to criticize the Last Two Minute Report regarding officiating in close games, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Cavaliers forward LeBron James were both critical this week of the NBA’s practice of publicly reviewing officiating calls in the last two minutes of close games. Van Gundy has now joined the chorus.
In Cleveland’s one-point win over Golden State on Christmas Day, Durant felt he was tripped up on the final play of the game. But when the officiating report confirmed that, Durant felt it was unfair for the officials to be subject to additional scrutiny, claiming it makes them more tentative to do their jobs.
“The refs didn’t lose us that game,” Durant said. “We lost that game. I think it’s (terrible) the NBA throws the refs under the bus like that.”
Van Gundy agrees with that assessment, as he told Ellis and other reporters on Thursday.
“I understand Kevin Durant’s comments because the referee could have had a great game and, when they grade them out, he could have been great, but he makes one crucial bad call at the end of the game, and that’s all the public knows about,” Van Gundy said.
The report on the Cavs’ win also indicated that a technical should have been called against James for hanging on the rim. That prompted him to say the NBA should cut the officials some slack.
“I think it discredits what the referees are doing for 48 minutes,” he told the assembled media. “If that’s the case, you might as well do a 48-minute report.”
During the offseason, the referees’ union called on the league to stop releasing the report publicly. At the time, commisssioner Adam Silver defended the practice, saying transparency was the best policy.
“It’s our hope that you take the Last Two Minute Reports together with using a certain amount of replay that we’re building to build trust and integrity in the league,” he said. “People are going to recognize that we are going to make mistakes, the officials are going to make mistakes. Human error is going to be part of this game, just as it is with players. … I’d say largely what these Last Two Minute Reports are showing is that the referees get it right about 90 percent of the time.”
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