So there we were, Oklahoma City down 1 with 27.5 seconds left in a fight for their playoff lives and the soon-t0-be MVP at the line for the second of 2 free throws to tie the game.
Then Joey Crawford steps in.
He does it in a big, grandstanding way. He acts like a total prick throughout the whole thing. But he was right.
Crawford had asked the scoreboard operator to indicate that both teams were in the bonus on the scoreboard. This is standard procedure in the last two minutes of any quarter when teams shoot free throws on the second foul. Referees like to be able to look at the scoreboard to determine if a team gets shots on a non-shooting foul. Crawford had just called a non-shooting foul on Allen and the Thunder were in the bonus but didn’t immediately know it because it wasn’t on the scoreboard.
But the board didn’t change. After seeing it hadn’t been fixed, Spooner, the official closest to the scorer’s table, repeated the request. When it wasn’t corrected, Crawford stopped play and took the ball from Durant, essentially breaking his rhythm and causing a delay. Crawford stomped over and demanded the scoreboard be altered.
In the end, Crawford was right, but it was an odd time and an odd reason to call for a break in the action. Crawford has been known to berate scoring officials when he’s unhappy and the scorer’s table in Oklahoma City has been known to irk officials at times. Last season, Dan Crawford, another veteran referee, stopped the game to scold a scorer’s table employee in Oklahoma City over his actions.
The scoreboard has to be accurate. Players and coaches look at the scoreboard to determine strategy and course of action. If the fouls are wrong, a player or coach may do something they wouldn’t normally do thinking they were in a different situation.
Also, don’t give me this crap about icing Kevin Durant. He’s hit some crazy shots in his time. He’s hit shots with 2 guys in his face. You’re never going to convince me that waiting an extra 30 seconds to take an uncontested free throw did anything to the best scorer in the league. He’s supposed to hit that shot.
Yea, Joey Crawford can be a grandstanding prick. Yes, he pretty much was last night. But in that situation, after another referee had asked for something that still hadn’t been done, Crawford had to make sure coaches and players had accurate information. He did the right thing the wrong way… but it WAS the right thing.
(video via CBS)