CHAUNCEY FLOPPED! There. I said it. In a game where momentum is just as valuable as points the Los Angeles Clippers
were gift wrapped the game drew foul after foul in the 4th quarter. In case you missed it:
But let's go deeper into this
atrocity 4th quarter shall we? While the referees made this game a home game for the Clippers an uphill battle let's look at a few things.
First of all the Clippers guards were getting wherever they wanted. Jazz were forced to adjust on defense and forced Mo to have the late closeout on an open Billups at the 3 point line. I'll admit these plays always make me nervous because a shooter is going to exaggerate contact on these plays. Also there is a lot of force being created by the defender by his speed toward the shooter. I'm not saying Mo played bad defense or the Jazz should be at fault for this. The referee made a horrible call and got caught watching the reaction of Billups rather than the actual play. The tougher pill to swallow is this very thing of shooters created contact by kicking their leg was an emphasis point in the league this year. Flopping is an emphasis point in the league this year. Even with both those points of emphasis Billups took advantage. I like this take by Steve Perrin at Clips Nation:
As Williams goes by, the only contact between the players is initiated by Billups as he sticks his left arm out. It's a rather brilliant maneuver as it allows him to "sell" it as a foul on that contact.
The league office will undoubtedly review this play and I suspect that they will issue a warning to Billups under the new flopping rule. And the Clippers still win the game.
And that's the ultimate limitation of the flopping rule -- it doesn't change the fact that Billups helped the Clippers win the game with a huge play. Any player, any team, anybody will take that every time. Let's see, I get a win and a warning? Okie dokie.
Undoubtedly, the new flopping rule will highlight flops throughout the season. I don't agree that it will detract players from flopping. (FLOPPERS GOTTA FLOP) A player has
to flop get caught flopping at least 6 times before he is even suspended. These don't change the impact of the games that were played. They do not alter the consequences of these manipulations. If we are being honest flopping is exaggerating the truth. That is also deceit. I would prefer there to be an independent referee at every game who is not on the court but "in the booth" reviewing calls on the court to also enforce this flopping rule so that it can be adjusted and fixed in game rather than post game. I'm sure if you ask Chauncey if he'd do the same thing again if it meant the Clippers win he said yes. What's a warning or even $5,000 dollars hurt in the long run if it helps you as a player make the playoffs and earn even bigger playoff bonus money? It's like an investment for the future.
While the flopping rule is nice to actually call out repeat floppers it doesn't do what it is designed to do: Stop Flopping. I don't think post game it does any of us any good to complain about officiating if we don't present a solution. The reason flopping works in game is it exaggerates contact on the court in a fast paced game. It is designed to steal the attention of the referees from what they are supposed to be seeing. If players are actively doing things to deceive referees and the integrity of game on the court the referees need to be empowered in some way to discipline and gain control. Right now the referees don't have that. I don't want to excuse the bad officiating. But at some point the NBA needs to get serious about flopping. The fines and warnings are lip service to the idea of fixing it.
Now on to taking responsibility. While Chauncey did indeed flop and there were questionable calls in the final seconds, there were also ill timed decisions being made by the Utah Jazz in the 4th quarter. There was the Jazz's bench unit somehow being pitted against the Clippers starting unit. Ty didn't change the lineup and allowed them to play. Needless to say, when the starters were subbed back in the Jazz's lead was in the early stages of being on life support.
Being the son of a referee I will admit I am inherently biased to referees. I don't see them as bad guys. They will do their best to call the game to the best of their ability. As my father will readily admit to me, "Please don't allow the game to be in my hands rather than your team's hands." I have always felt that if you allow the game to be in the referee's hands you are allowing factors beyond your control to take a hold of the game. Let's not forget that while it is a high pressure situation with the players with a game on the line it is a high pressure situation for the referees. Not excusing the referees decisions, but the Jazz had a chance in the 4th quarter to put this game away. They let the Clippers breath for just a while longer and the Jazz
got hosed lost a heartbreaker in a horrible fashion.
HEY HOMER! YEAH, YOU! I'M TALKING TO YOU! Chris Paul dropped this dime last night, courtesy of David Locke:
"They are homers, they root for the home team. Nobody in here will have a Chris Paul or Blake Griffin jersey in here tonight, I doubt it, everybody is going to root against us. A lot of cities you go to on the road some of the fans are cheering you. Not here everybody here is for the home team nad they support them regardless the ups or the downs. Top 2, top 3 toughest places to play in the league.
Good thing he wasn't traded to the Lakers or he would have never said this.
I want to end this downbeat with something positive.
This seriously never ceases to make me smile.