NBA Official Defends Referees

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

His team led by two points when the clock read 0.00 and still lost, 107-106, to the Washington Wizards on Sunday. Afterward, Golden State Warriors Coach Don Nelson said "the league will be very disappointed in this game, the way it ended, when they review the plays."

NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson reviewed a pair of last-second calls that resulted in Gilbert Arenas's decisive free throws with one-tenth of a second remaining and said that there was nothing wrong with the officiating at the conclusion of the game. "I think they made a couple of right calls," the league's disciplinarian said of the officiating crew of Derrick Stafford, Tony Brothers and Jason Phillips during a phone interview yesterday.

Jackson said Warriors reserve Mickael Pietrus "made contact" with Arenas as he drove to the basket in the closing seconds, "and the official in the trailing position saw the contact, blew his whistle and called the foul. Then, secondly, the crew made the correct decision to conduct an instant replay review which ultimately resulted in putting one-tenth of a second back on the clock when the contact occurred."

The Warriors, however, were most upset by the subsequent technical foul Nelson received for arguing the call, which forward Al Harrington said "took the game completely out of our hands." Several Wizards players said Nelson used offensive language while calling Brothers an "idiot," a claim that Nelson has denied.

But Jackson said the words Nelson used were irrelevant. "He was assessed a technical for being on the floor to complain about a call while the game was still in the balance," Jackson said. "Being on the court is certainly enough to warrant a [technical] foul in that situation."

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