LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers, 104-100, in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series Sunday night, tying the series. But the ending of the game left many viewers (and a couple of basketball analysts) scratching their heads.
With about nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, TNT play-by-play announcer Marv Albert and analyst Chris Webber said the Pacers, trailing by 103-100, had forced a jump ball after Indiana guard Lance Stephenson had wrestled for the ball on the ground with Cavaliers forward Jeff Green.
But as instant replay clearly showed, Stephenson earned a personal foul for forcing Green to the floor on a play that looked more like a wrestling move than a basketball play. That earned Green a trip to the foul line, leaving Webber a bit confused.
“Wait a minute, it’s a hostile act the other way,” Webber said during the broadcast. “I totally misinterpreted that.”
So what happened? According to Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president of replay and referee operations, referee Kenny Mauer initially called a foul on Stephenson, while his colleague Pat Fraher called a jump ball. When one referee calls a foul and the other calls a jump ball, according to NBA rules, the foul takes precedence.
“And the foul obviously happened prior to Lance getting his hands on the ball, so that’s why they stayed with the personal foul,” Borgia said on NBA on TNT after the game.
Even after Borgia explained what happened, TNT analyst Kenny Smith still seemed confused about what had transpired on the court.
“From what I thought, I thought the jump ball happened, and then the foul happened,” Smith said.
“Kenny [Mauer] had the foul first. If there is a foul and a jump simultaneous, the foul takes precedence,” Borgia clarified.
Joe Borgia, NBA Senior Vice President of Replay & Referee Operations, appeared on Inside the NBA @NBAonTNT to discuss the Lance Stephenson-Jeff Green play toward the end of the game in which Stephenson was called for a personal foul on Green. pic.twitter.com/OxOBBcDu4p
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) April 23, 2018
The NFL draft on every channel?
This year, the NFL draft will be televised by three channels: ESPN, FOX and the NFL Network. Unlike previous years, there’s a joint agreement in place between the NFL Network and ESPN to prevent staffers from tweeting draft picks before they’re officially announced from the podium.
But in the future, could there be more channels involved?
Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy reports that the NFL’s contracts with FOX and ESPN don’t guarantee exclusivity, which means the NFL draft could find its way to even more channels in coming years. McCarthy cites league executives as noting that the draft could wind up being as popular as the U.S. presidential election — with live coverage televised across all the major broadcast networks, including NBC and CBS (ABC will air ESPN’s coverage of Rounds 4 to 7 on Saturday).
Last year, the first round of the draft, which took place in Philadelphia, drew 6.7 million viewers on ESPN, and another 2.5 million on the NFL Network, according to the New York Times. This year, those ratings are expected to jump, since all seven rounds will air on broadcast TV for the first time in draft history. But ESPN, which invented live coverage of the NFL draft back in 1979, is expected to take a ratings hit.
“Listen, I’m not going to lie. It’s not ideal for us,” Seth Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer for NFL and MLB studio production, told McCarthy. “Ultimately, I think our loyal fans will find us — and come to us for the draft coverage they’ve expected all these years.”
NBC Sports Philadelphia nabs SB Nation veteran
Travis Hughes, the founder of Broad Street Hockey who has managed sports coverage for SB Nation since 2010, is coming back to Philadelphia.
Hughes has been hired by NBC Sports Philadelphia as the network’s director of digital content, a newly created position that will be responsible for content across the company’s digital and social media platforms. His first day on the job will be April 30.
“I remember the day CSN came on the air in 1997, and I’ve been looking up to the network ever since,” Hughes said in a statement. “The opportunity to come home and join such an amazing team is a dream come true. I cannot wait to get started.”
Hughes, a Quinnipiac University grad and native of Egg Harbor, N.J., comes in after a year of high-profile staffing changes at the network. Most recently, NBC Sports Philadelphia parted ways with Marshall Harris, who departed after nearly 10 years with the network. Before that, the network shed veteran reporters Dei Lynam and Tim Panaccio, veteran broadcaster Ron Burke, longtime Phillies reporter and anchor Leslie Gudel, and her former co-host, Neil Hartman.