Much has been made of the homecourt advantage all Conference Semifinalists have enjoyed this season. Detroit is the only team to have won on the road, and even they trailed by 15 during that game (and they played arguable the weakest or second weakest team remaining). I read today Elias Sports Bureau confirms that this SA-NO series is the first ever to have the home team win by 10+ for 6 games straight. So what gives? S.A. has shot the lights out at home (and vice versa), but could there be something more sinister at work?
I thought I'd try a little experiment with a Spurs fan (Graydon from 48 Minutes of Hell). Both of us counted up the number of "gracious" foul calls each team received (i.e., questionable charge/blocks, touch fouls, etc.) and compared our tallies.
At the end, I counted a mere three calls that went against the Spurs that shouldn't have, and just three that went against the Hornets that shouldn't have. A quick list:
Pargo getting called for his second block- Feet totally set, body in perfect balance, Ime was out of control and hit him square in the chest. Not sure how this was a block.
Parker getting fouled on the fastbreak- I think every single Hornet player knew that he was fouled. Also, seeing him say "You know that was a foul. You know that was a foul" to the ref was hilarious. As much as he's been killing us this series, TP is and will continue to be one of my favorite Association members.
- Duncan getting the call after missing a 2 footer- If I remember correctly, this happened in the second third first fourth .. oh, forget it. It happened in of the four quarters. There was literally zero contact between himself and Tyson Chandler, and the whistle blew well after the miss.
David West Fighting Through the Screen- This one was the only foul that really irritated me. Udoka was moving through a screen and got tangled with West. That was a critical point in the game, there was contact from both players, so that's a definite no-call, or at worst double foul.
- Tyson Pushing Off Before a Tap-Out- This was another really obvious one that I'm not sure how they missed. TC literally shoved a Spur out of the way (I'm pretty sure Oberto) before making his trademark tap-out. Perhaps if he had rebounded it himself, it might have been more obvious.
- Chris Paul Pushing Off- I counted one occasion where CP3 blatantly pushed off Parker before getting off a floater, and didn't include one where there was too much traffic to tell.
Now let's get to that third quarter flurry of foul calls. You'll notice that only one play from that stretch made my list. Some Hornets' fans felt like the third quarter officiating decided the game, but the first Chris Paul offensive was a good whistle. The second was less defendable, but still justifiable. The David West offensive foul was a testament to how good Duncan is on defense. What did us in more than the foul calls themselves was how we reacted to the foul calls.
Graydon noticed a few more poor calls than I did (10 total) and scored it 6-4 in favor of the Hornets. On the third quarter flurry: "The only call I included in my tally from that stretch was West's foul on Ginobili (actually a defensive foul), which I thought was ridiculous. West just did not foul him, they were tangled up and got untangled. It shouldn't have been an issue."
The final verdict: I think we both agree that this was a decently officiated game. The Spurs won Game 6 fair and square, thanks to some hot shooting and great defense on D. West. Now it's up to the Hornets to make adequate changes in Game 7.
We'll be counting fouls again on Monday, so it should be interesting to see if anything changes.