2011 NBA Playoffs: League Admits Mistakes During Celtics vs. Heat

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In the aftermath of some terrible officiating in game 1 of the Celtics- Heat series, the league has admitted that the refs blew a couple of the calls.  Little good it does the Celtics now since those calls may very well have cost the Celtics the game but it does vindicate those of us who were frustrated and angry by the terrible officiating in that game. From the Sun Sentinel:

The NBA has reclassified two fouls from Sunday's contentious second-round playoff series opener between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

James Jones' technical foul with 7:59 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 99-90 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena was rescinded. However, the Heat reserve forward was retroactively charged with a flagrant foul, penalty one for his foul at that juncture, when he landed hard against Celtics forward Paul Pierce.

The league has a point system in place that can lead to postseason suspensions for excessive flagrant fouls or technical fouls over the course of the playoffs.

In addition, Jermaine O'Neal's flagrant foul, penalty one at 2:30 of the third quarter for a shoulder thrown by the Celtics center at a driving Jones has been downgraded by the NBA to a personal foul.

These are just 2 of the terrible calls in this game but these two were so bad that the league had to admit they were wrong. The flagrant call on Jermaine O'Neal turned into 5 points for the Heat as Jones hit 2 free throws and Bibby then hit a 3. That bad call started a 9-0 run for the Heat.

In addition, the failure to correctly call the Jones hit a flagrant foul cost the Celtics 2 points. Also, if the flagrant had been called, chances are that Pierce wouldn't have gotten so frustrated about being mugged and wouldn't have gotten his first technical and wouldn't have been ejected from the game. At the time he was ejected he had begun to heat up and had hit several big shots. The ejection of Pierce along with the 7 point swing from the calls the league reversed more than likely cost the Celtics the game. It's nice that they admitted their incompetence after the fact and reversed the calls, but those calls may have cost the Celtics the game and that can't be undone.

We haven't even discussed the flagrant that Wade committed that wasn't called and wasn't reversed. And then there was LeBron's blatant travel that wasn't called. And there was the fact that LeBron left the Heat bench and walked onto the court to pull Chalmers back during the altercation that led to the Delonte West technical foul. The rule is that if you leave the bench during an incident you should be suspended. There have been players who just stepped onto the court and didn't go anywhere near the action that were suspended for it. But I guess the rules don't apply to LeBron.

The good news is that the league deemed that Pierce did not head butt Jones after Jones' flagrant foul that the biased and incompetent refs failed to call. That means that he will not be suspended for game 2. We can only hope that since the refs were so bad in game 1 that the refs in game 2 will at least call it fair. I know it's a lot to hope for, but the league owes to the Celtics to get it right after their failure in game 1 likely cost them the game.