NBA Finals: Was blown call against Cavs a case of 'old-school refereeing?'

LeBron James talks to referee Derrick Stafford after a questionable out-of-bounds call in Game 2. (AP Photo)
LeBron James talks to referee Derrick Stafford after a questionable out-of-bounds call in Game 2. (AP Photo)

Cleveland Cavaliers fans who enjoy claiming the refs are out to get them had a field day with one blown call in Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy had an alternate explanation.

“Old-school refereeing,” the former coach explained.

With less than a minute to go in the game’s first quarter, Golden State’s Steph Curry forced a left-handed three-pointer in hopes of drawing a three-shot foul from Cleveland’s Jordan Clarkson.

The nearest official, Derrick Stafford, wasn’t buying it however and held his whistle as Curry’s shot airballed and fell out of bounds.

When it came time to award possession, however, Stafford immediately gave the ball back to Golden State, claiming that the ball had been tipped by a Cleveland player. It was clearly the wrong call and LeBron James quickly came over to argue with Stafford.

Despite James’ protests, the call was not reversed.

Over on the sidelines, Van Gundy claimed it was an immediate makeup call, the type not seen much these days, particularly in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Van Gundy: “Now this is old school refereeing. He may have missed the call on the shot, he’s not going to then penalize them a second time for the ball going out. So you just give the ball back.

Mike Breen: “That’s nice to say, but they say old school refereeing is dead though.”

Van Gundy: “I’m into old school refereeing.”

It’s hard to tell if Van Gundy’s instincts were right or if Stafford simply blew the call.

But both drew plenty of ridicule on social media.

The take here: If it’s a foul, call the foul .. even if it’s late.

Otherwise? Keep that whistle swallowed. Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals is no place for “old-school refereeing.”

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