Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has made several bold claims about present-day officiating, but his latest actually isn't too far-fetched.
Joining 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland on Friday to discuss Golden State's victory over the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Donaghy said that officials should not have awarded the Warriors the ball after their controversial decision to overturn a charge called on Kevin Durant. Instead, citing a rule on Page 47 of the NBA Rule Book, he said officials should have held a jump ball at the center circle.
The rule Donaghy is referring to falls under Rule 12, in a section on Double Fouls. It states:
If a double foul occurs as a result of a difference in opinion by the officials, no points can be scored and play shall resume with a jump ball at the center circle between any two opponents in the game at that time. No substitute may participate in the jump ball.
Now, there's a lot to upack here. To understand what he's talking about, we have to back to the beginning of the play in question. After LeBron James slid in and took contact from a driving Durant, game officials Tony Brothers and Ken Mauer appeared to disagree on whether or not a charge or block should be called. Mauer definitively called a charge under the basket, while Brothers, seen in the back here, appeared ready to call a block. If two different fouls were called on the play, well, that would be a double foul occuring as a result of a difference of opinion, just as the rule states.
"Clearly Brothers called a block, Kenny Mauer called a charge, and they had a difference of opinion," Donaghy said. "So, by rule, there should have been a jump ball at the center circle between any two opponents that were in the game at the time.
"To me, they kicked the rule."
That would have made sense, if not for the decision the officials made moments later.
Mauer triggered a video review of the call and told a pool reporter after the game he was unsure if James was outside the restricted area. After the review, a definitive decision was reached that a block should be called on James.
So, while Brothers and Mauer disagreed at first, there was only one call made at the end of the review. And, on top of all that, it's unclear whether there were even two calls made in the first place as Brothers seemed unsure in the moment. Before the review, the case for a jump ball was borderline at best, and after the decision was made to go to the monitor it was nonexistent.
Donaghy, who was forced out of the league in 2007 after his involvement in a gambling scheme was discovered, certainly brings up an interesting point here, but it seems like his interpetation is a bit off. It will surely only add to the fire burning inside Cavaliers fans following the ending of a heart-breaking Game 1.