Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mr. Whineypants

On Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost a close game to the lowly Indiana Pacers. It was a bad loss for the playoff bound Cavs, but it was one of 82 games.

What made this game stand out was the way it ended: on a referee's whistle. Two fouls in the final seconds of the game determined the outcome of the game. Both calls were awful, the second being a make up call for the first mistake. It was a lesson in how not to ref a game and will not go down as a shining moment in the NBA.

That's not what get me steamed though. It was a regular season NBA game in February. Cleveland will still be in the playoffs and the Pacers will probably not. Unles
s either team loses out on a post-season seed by one half of a game, there is nothing that will come from this game in the standings.

What got my sports pants in a wad was the reaction by the Cavs after the game. The p
ost game tirade of Cleveland coach Mike Brown about the foul being the worst thing he's ever seen was probably true.

But I can assure you that Brown would have very little to say if only the first call was made against the Pacers. And that's where I have my problem. The first bad call
made against Indiana was made because a ball was being lobbed up to King James. It was just as bad of a call, but it was made by someone guarding LeBron. Therefore, the call was just accepted as an NBA star foul.

Give the Pacers credit. After LeBron tied the game up, Indiana ran the exact same play against Cleveland ran and forced the referee to whistle a make up call or face the ridicule of not calling the game correctly. I don't know how two wrongs mak
e a right, but that's just the way things work in the NBA. If the ref swallows his whistle, he would have a froward Pacers team on his hands.

So the ref makes the call and Indiana wins. But the ref actually made the call against....gasp....LeBron! What?! LeBron James called for a foul in crunch time? A bad foul called on him? Surely not!

And that is where I have my fundamental problem with the NBA. It is such a star powered league t
hat when someone like King James gets called at the end of the game, the story isn't only about whether it was a good foul or not, it's that the foul was called on a star player.

The top line of the A.P. post game story was "
LeBron James grudgingly lived with the NBA's non-star treatment Tuesday night." Oh, poor guy. He got a foul called on him.

James was at least understated about his anger at the final call. You couldn't say the same about his coach. After his initial rant, Mike Brown just couldn't leave it alone, saying "I don't care if I get fined. It is what it is. I saw the two plays; just a bad call determined the outcome of that game," Brown said. "If they want to fine me for telling the truth, fine me. This isn't me. I never do this."

Do you know why you never do this, Coach Brown? Because you have LeBron on your team, you idiot. If Cleveland wins the game on that final foul against Indiana, a bad call would have determined the game too. But Coach Brown is used to getting those calls because he has LeBron. He apparently expects it now since when things don't go his way he becomes unhinged. It was like watching a five year old throw a tantrum.

So chalk this game up as a win for the everyman NBA player who is tired of seeing Tim Duncan's bug eyes of disbelief at every foul called on him, Dwyane Wade's fall down maneuver after a shot to draw a cheap foul, or any other star's expectation of preferential treatment.

Just play the game and deal with it. Everyone else does.

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