CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NBA’s “Last Two Minute Report” (L2M) is intended to help players and coaches better understand officiating and the rules. But it seems to be having an opposite effect on some.
“I think all of us are a little bit confused with what our end goal is with it, and whether that is making coherent corrections so that future games are better officiated,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of L2Ms after Thursday’s shootaround session. “I don’t know if any of us have that answer or conclusion right now. So, officials have a tough job to do. We study the rules and the angles like every other staff does. And I still have no idea who is responsible for three seconds, who is responsible for charges, who is responsible for hand checks. It changes based on different regions of the court.
“There’s a lot of gray area right now, very confusing and it’s difficult for the officials to really be consistent.”
The NBA began issuing L2Ms in March 2015 as “part of the NBA’s ongoing effort to build a greater awareness and understanding of the rules and processes that govern our game,” according to the league’s website. It’s a play-by-play report that includes all calls and material non-calls in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or the last two minutes of any overtime period for games that a team’s lead over the other is five points or fewer at that point.
“I look at it both ways,” Spoelstra said when asked if L2Ms put officials in an unfair and vulnerable position. “I remember the 90s, the argument was the other way. We want to know when officials messed up a call to hold them accountable. I do believe in the accountability. I’m not sure that’s the way to do it.”
The L2M discussion resurfaced this week after the NBA announced Monday that the Cavaliers benefited from two missed calls in the final two minutes of their 109-108 win over Golden State.
“The refs didn’t lose us that game. We lost that game,” Kevin Durant told reporters. “We could have been better. I think it’s bulls— that the NBA threw the refs under the bus like that.”
And James agreed.
“I’m not a fan of the two-minute report,” James said to reporters Wednesday. “I think it discredits what the referees are doing for 48 minutes. If that’s the case, you might as well do a 48-minute report.”
Former Heat guard Dwyane Wade spoke out against L2Ms during the playoffs last season. Wade said he would rather the report break down the entire game and not just the final two minutes.
“I think you go through the whole game and it’s transparent for the whole game,” Wade said in April. “You don’t just do two minutes of the game. There’s a lot that happens in the game that can affect the last two minutes. A player’s action or something that happened can affect those last two minutes as far as why something was or wasn’t done.
“I don’t think those last two minutes is a real indication of any transparency because it’s a 48-minute game. It could’ve been something I did early in the game that’s the reason I didn’t get that in the last minute. Who knows? I just don’t think two minutes is a real indication. That’s just my personal opinion.