Finals refs picked by grades, rotation
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Miami – NBA referee Joey Crawford is part of the league’s 12-man pool for officiating Finals games, so it’s not exactly a surprise Crawford got the call for Game 6 between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.
That doesn’t mean a few eyebrows weren’t raised, considering Crawford’s history with the Spurs – namely his 2007 incident in which Crawford was suspended for the rest of the season, including the playoffs for “improper conduct and lack of professionalism” after ejecting Spurs big man Tim Duncan from a game late in the 2006-07 season.
Duncan was also fined $25,000.
This is the second game Crawford has officiated in the Heat-Spurs series and the 13 game he has officiated this playoff season. Crawford called Game 2 – a 103-84 Heat victory – along with Ed Malloy and Ken Mauer. Mike Callahan and Mauer join Crawford for Game 6.
The playoffs began with a 43-person referee pool, and those refs were determined by a season-long grading system. Each official is graded after each game based on their performance: accuracy of calls, positioning and fitness.
The pool for Finals referees is whittled to 12 based on playoff grades in conjunction with season-long grades. These are, according to the NBA, the best of the best refereeing in the Finals.
Crawford, Malloy, Mauer, Callahan, Monty McCutchen, Jason Phillips, Tony Brothers, James Capers, Dan Crawford, Marc Davis, Scott Foster and Bill Kennedy are this season’s 12 Finals refs. The NBA releases each game’s officials at 9 a.m. ET the day of the game.
According to nbastuffer.com, which tracks the games each referee works, the home team in games which Joey Crawford officiated won 56.6% of the time during the regular season and 58.3% of the time during the playoffs this season. The fouls have been pretty even in the postseason for Crawford’s crew – 49.9% of the fouls have been called against the road team and 50.1% against the home team.
Crawford, one of the league’s most recognizable referees because of his bald head, has called NBA games for 36 seasons. He has called more than 300 playoff games, and this his … [For more on NBA refs for Finals games picked by grades, rotation, click here.]