I was just watching the pre-game for game 3, Heat, Celtics, and they were talking about how the refs blew a call when Wade hit Rondo in the head in game 2. They were saying it should have been flagrant. If I was a ref on the floor, it might have been a blown call because it looked like Wade clearly hit him in the face. It’s probably going to be the centerpiece of the upcoming Simmons article rationalizing why his Celtics are down two instead of tied.
When I first watched the replays it looked like an obvious flagrant foul that should have resulted in the Celts having two shots and the ball. Instead Miami scored and it represented a potential 4-7 point swing in the game. Huge. But when I watched the replay closely, and employed extra slow motion to see what happened in real time instants, something else became apparent. You can see the replay where Shaq says “see he got him” at the exact moment Wade’s hand jerks up and away from Rondo’s face without touching him. Rajon Rondo flopped.
I’m somewhat amazed at the skill of the refs to make that call, on the floor, when after many replays I still believed it was a blown call. But when I slowed down their slow-mo to make it crawl it becomes quite obvious that Wade merely screens Rondo’s eyes, and quickly pulls his hand away in an upward motion in front of Rondo’s forehead while Rondo is falling in a downward motion. Rondo’s head is tilted back to look at the hoop where he’s trying to lay it in.
The only place Wade could have made contact with Rondo is directly in the forehead where that headband is, but the headband doesn’t move at all. It’s in exactly the same place it was before the play started. What’s more Rondo’s head doesn’t more or snap in any direction at the moment of supposed impact. Once Rondo lands however his head does snap back as his hands fly to his eyes to feign that he got gouged. However when you watch the video you can clearly see that Wade’s arm make’s absolutely no movement such an impact with someone’s head would cause. Look at the video yourself:
It’s a flop and it’s obvious. What is also obvious is that this is an incredibly brilliant defensive eye screen by Wade. To pull it back that quickly without fouling, while avoiding Rondo’s shooting arm that Rondo is trying to draw the foul with.
First KG sets up and jumps from within the circle making all contact with Wade a block anyway. KG have given no where for Wade to land. This is the entire point of the circle in the first place. It’s the offensive player’s landing zone and where his feet go on all shots.
Then before any extension you can see KG make contact pushing Wade with one hand on his body and clearly fouling him on the right arm. When you push someone who’s jumping through the air they are going to flare out their arms and legs to maintain balance and this is totally a foul on KG, or in the least a double fouls type situation or a no-call. But not quite as obvious as the Rondo Flop.
And then comes the Media Driven Misconceptions (MDM). Jeff Van Gundy sees the first angle and declares that Wade him him and it was an obvious foul. On Inside The NBA they show the replay and Chuck says Wade got away with a flagrant at the exact moment the replay is on the screen showing Wade not hitting Rondo at all. Tweets galore were sent all over the world talking about Wade’s dirty play.
But it’s all so easy to get it right. You just watch the angles and use slow motion. Obviously refs can’t do this on the floor which is why I am so amazed they got it right. But people like Van Gundy, Chuck and Kenny… they have production crews with all the equipment and talent to do this. I’m mystified why no one uses it. It took less then 30 seconds for me to see reality for what it was. An amazing call on an amazing defensive play from an amazing player. Boston fans claiming this unfairly swung OT and thus the game away from them are merely choosing fan blindness, letting the MDM think for them instead of themselves, and most importantly making excuses.