The NBA announced the officiating crew for Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. The crew will feature Joey Crawford, Ken Mauer and Ed Malloy as the three-man unit, with Marc Davis as the alternate referee.
While Spurs fans will worry about Crawford and his odd history with Tim Duncan, the majority of fans may just need to worry that we are unlikely to see Game 2 of the NBA Finals called like we saw Game 1. In the Spurs' 92-88 victory over the Heat, we saw just 24 total fouls called and 35 free throws combined from both teams. There also weren't any technical fouls given out by the officiating crew of Tony Brothers, Monty McCutchen, and Jason Phillips. Game 1 tied a record for fewest foul calls in an NBA Finals game.
In Game 2, we're likely to see the flow of the game change with this crew. According to Basketball-Reference.com, games Crawford has officiated in the NBA playoffs have seen more fouls called than the average official for six straight seasons. It's been as high as six more fouls per game called (2007-08) and as little 1.4 (2010-11). During the 2013 playoffs, that number sits at 2.2 more foul calls per game. Malloy and Mauer are both under one more foul call per game (+0.1 and +0.6, respectively).
With these three officials, you can probably expect a few technical fouls as well. But all the players are going to hope for in this game is consistency with the officiating and letting the players play a bit more.
“I'd rather there be no calls made,” Heat guard Ray Allen said Friday. “We all can adjust to that, as opposed to not knowing if you're being over-aggressive. One thing offensively about this league is, guys are going to come at you and there's a point where you have to hold your ground. Sometimes you're trying to decide, ‘Do I open up or do I stand there? And if I stand there, am I going to be called a foul?' I'd definitely have it be a more physical game where the referees just let us play.”
Game 1 was only the 20th time in 99 games this season (playoffs included) that the Heat shot 17 free throws or fewer in a game. It was the 33rd time in 97 games the Spurs shot 18 free throws or fewer in a game.