Difference between a blocking foul and a charge
With that said, I feel NBA officials, with help from the league office, can be better at determining what is a blocking foul, a charge or just a no call. How many times have we seen this issue raised during the playoffs this year? In Game 4 Sunday night of the Eastern Conference Finals, so many key plays involved an official making a call that was in question. What makes it worse is how inconsistent the calls are.
The NBA really needs to sit down in the off season and review plays from this postseason that hopefully leads to either officials being better educated on the rules, or perhaps considering changing certain rules. The latter is unlikely, but it seems the difference between a charge and a block gives officials the most difficulty, while enraging players, coaches and fans in the process.
What appears to be the hardest and most blown call by officials is when a player drives and a defensive player slides over to a spot in an attempt at drawing a charge. Most times the defensive player is a help defender and will often slide underneath the offensive player drawing a charge call. However, what the NBA needs to make clear to its officials is, unless the defender is standing straight up and is still without leaning--that play should always be called a blocking foul. You see so many players not set and leaning their body trying to anticipate where the offensive player is going. And I'm not even talking about the semi circle that was created specifically so players can't just hang out under the basket in an attempt to draw a charge on every play.
Shane Battier is a great defender, but he is a prime example of this rule needing to be looked at. Don't get me started on my hatred for Duke players and how coach Krybaby teaches the flop better than any coach in this country. Battier appears to be on the court to only draw charges. I'm not saying he isn't a great on the ball defender, but more times than not he is falling backwards and based on reputation gets the call more than he should. It makes me sick to see a player beat his initial defender off the dribble, go to the hoop, and then watch a defender run across the court and not attempt to strip the ball or block the shot, but instead tuck his head into his chin and brace himself for contact. I know it's in the rule book--but I hate when defenders do that. How is that exciting? How about running across the court and blocking the shot in spectacular fashion?
And I'm not saying there should be no charge calls at all. So many times players just come flying down the lane and throw their bodies into defenders--Now that is a charge. Today's player has no idea how to pull up in the lane and take an easy 5-7 foot jumper. Instead most players shoot the 3 or drive all the way to the basket and create contact. That's why they call it a player control foul.
Then there's incidental contact. In the overtime of the Heat/Celtics game 4, Mickael Pietrus was guarding LeBron James in the post. James was moving backwards trying to establish post position. Without James creating much contact Pietrus fell backwards. Now I'm not the first to say LeBron gets most calls he shouldn't. In fact, he is guilty of so many charging calls that are called blocking fouls, when he throws his body into defenders. However, on this particular play James did very little to cause Pietrus to fall. The ref decided to call James for an offensive foul, which resulted in Lebron fouling out of the game. In my opinion that play should have been a no call. By the way, the ball was thrown into the post and ended up going out of bounds, so it would've resulted in a turnover regardless. Only difference is LeBron would have continued playing.
In the 4th quarter, Kevin Garnett and LeBron were in the post on the Celtics end. A shot went up and Garnett ran hard to the hoop and knocked over James. Their arms appeared to have been tied up, but in that case Garnett's force appeared to knock James down. The ref called it an offensive foul on Garnett. They actually got this call right in my opinion. Now LeBron may have flopped, which is possible. NBA commissioner David Stern already said he wants to address players flopping and even fine them. I think he needs to look into everything when it comes to blocking fouls and charges. These games can be better officiated.