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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:09pm
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Jordan's 63 pt game - Game 2 of 1st round 1986 Eastern Conference Playoffs

I have lots of old NBA stuff on my DVR from espn classic that I like to catch up on when there isn't much to watch. Last night was one of those nights so I watched the Bulls vs Celtics from the 1986 playoffs.

In the opening they showed the officials for the game, Frank Middleton, some other guy and Jack Nies (with a full head of brown hair) as the ALTERNATE official. So this strikes me as odd - alternate official? Sure enough they were working 2 man for an NBA playoff game

I had never really paid attention to this before and I must say I was shocked that the NBA was using 2 man crews. Does anyone know when the League switched to 3 man crews? Middleton and the other guy did a credible job but it was obvious they were:
1) Struggling to keep up with the pace and the heat
2) Struggling to get good angles
3) Having a hard time maintaining control over the play in the paint

and I noticed they were doing some really weird things in their 2 man mechanics like running across the court in transition and (while in the lead position) going from the table side all the way to the opposite corner on the baseline which caused the trail to switch sides during play

anyway what really struck me was the final sequence in regulation. The Celtics were up by two 113-111, Jordan comes down and shoots a 3pt attempt (6:02 mark of this youtube clip).
http://youtube.com/watch?v=69vkEcc-zfc

Middleton in the trail CLEARLY signals 3pt attempt, Dick Stockton calls it a 3pt attempt and Jordan missed it. Middleton then makes an atrocious call on McHale. In the clip you can barely see it but Mchale closes out on the Jordan 3pt attempt, Jordan has a clear shot on the basket and elevates, as Jordan comes down McHale's hand is in the air near Jordan's face and Jordans shooting hand comes down and hits Mchale's hand. Middleton calls foul on Mchale even though Jordan initiated the contact. Now I know someone is going to come out with "airborne shooter" and Mchale was dumb to get that close to Jordan in the first place.

Now it gets really weird. Jordan was clearly shooting a 3pt shot, but Middleton gives Jordan 2 FTs, which he makes sending the game into overtime.

Three questions about this:
1) would you have had the stones to call that foul like Frank Middleton did in that circumstance?

2) why did Middleton only give Jordan two FTs when he was shooting a 3pt shot?

3) do you think the NBA using 3 man crews is better or worse for the NBA game? In other words, 2 man crews let a lot go because they just dont clearly see it to call it. If the glory days of the NBA were the 80s, do you think a return to 2 man crews in today's game would lead to a return of 80s style open court basketball?
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:10pm
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thanks for youtube link!
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:17pm
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If I am not mistaken, back in the day you only received 2 FT's for being fouled on a 3 point attempt.

The rule changed in the early 90's after the Bulls lost a game (to the Knicks maybe?) due to that rule.
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:21pm
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well if that is the case then it makes sense because the only thing I could see was Middleton thought McHale pushed Jordan after the shot, after Jordan came down which would have been a real stretch.

thanks
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:25pm
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I believe '88-'89 was the permanent switch to 3-man.

The NBA also used 3-man officiating for one year in 1978-79, but tossed it after that year. It was a strange experiment where the 3rd official was limited to only making certain calls. I don't believe there was any rotation or switching with the 3rd official - he was in one spot on the court the entire game. I wish I could remember what he was allowed to call, but I can't. I'll look for it.
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun Reff
as Jordan comes down McHale's hand is in the air near Jordan's face and Jordans shooting hand comes down and hits Mchale's hand. Middleton calls foul on Mchale even though Jordan initiated the contact.
C'mon, Michael Jordan didn't commit a foul his entire NBA career, and THAT's why the foul had to be on McHale! (sarc)
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:39pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdw3018
I believe '88-'89 was the permanent switch to 3-man.

The NBA also used 3-man officiating for one year in 1978-79, but tossed it after that year. It was a strange experiment where the 3rd official was limited to only making certain calls. I don't believe there was any rotation or switching with the 3rd official - he was in one spot on the court the entire game. I wish I could remember what he was allowed to call, but I can't. I'll look for it.
This explains what I saw in a replay of a game from the '79 Finals (Bullets/Sonics).

The "Slot" official never changed positions. He was always the "C" and always opposite the table. The lead would rotate to his side sometimes in the front court but the 'C' stayed put and the lead always went back tableside in transition as the new trail.

The lead and trail were the only ones to switch on fouls.
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:42pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNewsRef
This explains what I saw in a replay of a game from the '79 Finals (Bullets/Sonics).

The "Slot" official never changed positions. He was always the "C" and always opposite the table. The lead would rotate to his side sometimes in the front court but the 'C' stayed put and the lead always went back tableside in transition as the new trail.

The lead and trail were the only ones to switch on fouls.
wow, this would be great for the guy who got the C on any given night. he would only have to run about 50 feet all game long and never switch.

Sign me up for that job
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNewsRef
This explains what I saw in a replay of a game from the '79 Finals (Bullets/Sonics).

The "Slot" official never changed positions. He was always the "C" and always opposite the table. The lead would rotate to his side sometimes in the front court but the 'C' stayed put and the lead always went back tableside in transition as the new trail.

The lead and trail were the only ones to switch on fouls.
Yep. I really wish I could find where I read about the limits on what the slot could call. Hmmm...
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 02:48pm
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Found one quote. This is from Earl Strom's "Calling the Shots", so it's nothing official, but it quotes, "The third man could only call things like three-second violations, out-of-bounds plays, and goaltending, and so..."
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 03:18pm
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Tuesday night and nothing on TV...come on, what about American Idol? Randy, Paula and Simon are quality programming.
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 04:47pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdw3018
Found one quote. This is from Earl Strom's "Calling the Shots", so it's nothing official, but it quotes, "The third man could only call things like three-second violations, out-of-bounds plays, and goaltending, and so..."
Earl is my idol (no reference to that stupid show in the post above) and in his book he also mentions that one year, the league (on the recommendation of coaches) had him and Mendy Rudolph work every game of the finals.

Amazing.
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 05:39pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Padgett
Earl is my idol (no reference to that stupid show in the post above) and in his book he also mentions that one year, the league (on the recommendation of coaches) had him and Mendy Rudolph work every game of the finals.

Amazing.

No props to Sid Borgia????
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 06:10pm
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If I'm not mistaken, the pro 2-man mechanic is different than the normal 2-man mechanics. The officials always officiate to the left of the ball, but the lead does go strong side. That may be why you saw an official running across the court in transition.
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Old Wed Mar 05, 2008, 08:29pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNewsRef
The "Slot" official never changed positions. He was always the "C" and always opposite the table. The lead would rotate to his side sometimes in the front court but the 'C' stayed put and the lead always went back tableside in transition as the new trail.

The lead and trail were the only ones to switch on fouls.
I flew to Barrow, Alaska a few weeks ago and was working a game one night with a couple guys that hadn't worked much 3-man before. During our pre-game, one of them spoke up and basically said, we like to have the C be on the far side of the court so that you're not standing there with your @$$ in the coaches face. He was totally serious. Needless to say, we had a serious discussion about rotating and switching based on where the ball/players were on the court, NOT to avoid standing in front of the coach.
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