With the game 4 of the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers in the books, there is a lot to discuss.
The Bulls followed the recent MVP level of play by Derrick Rose in his great game. Rose played with a vendetta; scoring 31 points for the Bulls, and then again hitting a desperate 3 near the end of the game to give Chicago a chance to win. Joakim Noah also stepped up to the plate, getting 2 steals in the game and also returning to his 2013-14 Defensive Player of the Year level on the defensive side. Much like the Bulls did on Friday, the Cavaliers won the game with their star player hitting a buzzer beater, LeBron James. Though the Cavaliers fought hard for the win, the Bulls seem to have been cheated in the eyes of many. The referees made some mistakes here and there; and with a controversial replay at the end of the game, many Bulls fans and players are left scratching their heads.
Early in the game, the Bulls were obviously the better team and LeBron seemed to be out of shape; turning the ball over possession after possession with a grand total of 8 turnovers for the game. Bulls coach, Tom Thibodeau, took full use of Rose’s driving ability and had him to go straight down the court practically every time. Though he made many of the shots, regardless of contact or not, the referees barely blew the whistle.
With every drive to the rim it seemed that someone was getting into contact with the Bulls players, but there were rarely calls made. Taj Gibson threw down an offensive rebound midway through the third quarter to tie the game 57-57, and with two players grabbing his arms and no call, Gibson was upset that there was no foul.
The Cavaliers on the other hand were not on the receiving end of the referees good grace. When there was hardly any contact the referees called a foul. On a quick throw in for the Cavs, the referees made a questionable call on Joakim Noah that sent Timofey Mozgov to the line at the 8:04 mark of the second quarter.
Near the end of the game, however, the referees seemed to even up the calls. When James was trying to break a double team and threw a shoulder at Mike Dunleavy, the refs called an offensive foul with about a minute to go in the game . The Bulls capitalized on the call as Rose drove to the rim and made a contested layup to tie up the game with 9 seconds to go. With no timeouts for either team, James drove the ball to the rim and despite body contact from Noah, there was no call. Mirotic blocked the layup and sent the ball out of bounds. With .8 seconds on the clock, and no timeouts, the Cavs were blessed by the refereeing staff when they went to the replay to see how much time was left. The refs ended up putting 1.5 seconds on the board which gave the Cavs more time to score.
With more than the allotted time, the Bulls were a victim of the replay system. The Cavaliers were granted the chance to draw up a play, which ultimately won them the game. The call by the referees to go to the monitor offset the fact that neither team had a timeout. With many analysts, players, fans and coaches already questioning the ability of players and coaches to meet when there is a replay, the debate will now come back up. During a break in today’s game, legendary player and now analyst, Grant Hill, made it known that the NBA should change the rules. Hill stated that he believes that the players should have to stay on the court when there is a replay so that the coaches cannot draw up an unfair play that could win them the game.
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