Tim Donaghy, David Stern’s favorite ex-NBA game official, reviewed the officiating in Game 1 for Deadspin, looking at missed calls in both directions throughout the game. In particular, he says that the referees set the tone early in the game.
11:22 [MIA 2-0] Quick three-second call on Tyson Chandler. Ball is deflected and loose. Three-second violations, like handchecks, are often made early in a game to set a tone and open up the lane so players can get to the basket.
10:50 [MIA 4-0] Cheap foul on Dwyane Wade. Another call to set the tone for the game and the series. If this type of play were whistled all night, there would be 100 fouls called in the game.
One other interesting stretch to me, Donaghy thought that a string of calls went Miami’s way later in the first quarter. Dallas made up ground anyway, but if these calls had gone there way they could have built a bigger cushion.
7:49 [MIA 6-4] Bosh sets an illegal screen on Stevenson. Bosh must give a defender time and space to stop and/or change direction. Missed call.
7:35 [MIA 6-4] Bosh pushes off on this rebound, but Dallas keeps the balls as it goes out of bounds. Had Miami gained control, this foul would’ve been called.
5:30 [MIA 10-5] Cheap foul on Nowitzki as James runs into him. Similar play occurs in the second quarter with Barea at 6:54 and no call is made.
4:51 [MIA 11-8] James clear lifts his left foot, his pivot foot, allowing him to get off a pass. Travel missed.
3:47 [MIA 13-11] James lowers his shoulder into Chandler on a drive to the basket. This is a missed offensive foul — too much contact to ignore.
:37.3 [MIA 16-15] Clear foul by James on Terry’s drive to the basket. Jeff Van Gundy makes a boneheaded comment about how this should be an offensive foul.
:19.1 [DAL 17-16] James pushes off on Barea. He extends his right arm to clear space and get his shot off. James makes enough contact and gets enough of an advantage that this should be called. It’s ignored because it would be his third foul.