Joey Crawford: Is He Human – Or Is He Dancer?
After a Laker turnover, the Pacers were racing the other way on a 4-on-1 fastbreak. They were up 56-52 in a game where points were not easy to come by for either squad and badly in need of a momentum change after watching what had been 13-point lead three minutes earlier dwindle to just 4. But apparently Kobe Bryant, as he is wont to do, thought he was fouled when Gerald Green took the ball from him. So instead of letting Indiana finish their transition (which looked poised to give us a dunk of the year candidate with Green trailing), superstar ref Joey Crawford whistled Kobe for a technical foul.
Now, there is nothing in the rule book, that I know of, that says Crawford isn’t free to dish out a tech whenever he wants. (Tim Duncan could vouch for that.) But there is an unwritten rule that you don’t penalize a team with a clear advantage by stopping play because someone on the opposing team acts up in class. It’s basically the same principle that doesn’t allow a defensive lineman in the NFL to stop the clock by committing an offsides penalty. It’s just an unfair way for the defense to artificially halt play.
But no big deal. That was just one relatively meaningless possession in a game during which most possessions had no meaning. The Pacers made the free throw and got the ball back, so Crawford’s call, worst case, cost them one point. (Technically, it may have given them a point if you subscribe to the theory that a 4-on-1 break guaranteed nothing in this game.)
Then, later, in the waning seconds, Ol’ Joey really out-did himself.
This time, it was actually beneficial to Indiana, as he whistled Chris Duhon for a blocking foul as David West drove the lane and certainly seemed to commit a player control violation. But it wasn’t so much the (probably) bad call as it was how he called it. See above. There are plenty of terrible moments in the life of Joey Crawford to remember, but I probably will never forget the time that he broke out this interpretive dance amalgamation of Frank Drebin and Merton Hanks mocking Michael Bluth for his cowardice. (Bluth joke h/t @jakeb3336 … Crawford GIF via @SBnation)