As Bulls complaints rise, can NBA fix system of replay reveiws?

Is it too much to ask for the NBA to get the key calls correct?

This week saw not only the fifth example of an important late-game call going against the Bulls, but also an Emmy-caliber anguished performance by LeBron James after not getting a late-game foul call in Boston.

Video review has been a mess in the NBA for a long time. Before the current "coaches challenge" system began, officials used to run to the replay monitor after most any late-game out of bounds call.

One play involving Derrick Rose in a game at New Jersey sticks in the mind. In the final minute of a close contest, Rose drove into the lane, a Nets player reached in, the ball went out of bounds and the possession stayed with the Bulls.

Wait, better check the replay on that one. This call is too important to get wrong. What replay showed was the Nets player actually grabbed Rose's arm and pulled it, causing him to lose control of the ball.

Referees aren't allowed to call fouls based on replay, and the Nets player never touched the ball. So it was out of bounds off Rose, Nets ball and the referees looked like idiots because all replay showed was they missed an obvious foul call.

Now we're in the era of coaches challenge, where each team gets one chance to protest a call per game. The problem the NBA faces, is teams are allowed to challenge only the calls that are made, not plays where someone is fouled, but it's not called.

For example, if referees called a foul when James went to the basket in Boston, the Celtics could have challenged. A foul wasn't called, so the Lakers could not challenge.

Likewise, all of the last-two minute report calls that have gone against the Bulls were things they couldn't have challenged, including the game in Cleveland when Jarrett Allen traveled and Donovan Mitchell committed a free-throw violation in the waning moments.

Is there a better way to do it?

"I know in some of the coaches meetings over the years, there's been always a concern from the fan standpoint that the games get slowed down so much because you're looking at everything," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said this week. "We've got to focus on things we can do better because we can't control (calls)."

The obvious fix is to let coaches challenge non-calls. But basketball has a problem football and baseball do not - continuous play.

Against the Clippers this week, DeMar DeRozan drove to the basket against Reggie Jackson, hit the floor and play continued. The next day, the NBA admitted it should have been a foul on Jackson. But after DeRozan lost the ball, the Clippers took off down the court on a fast break.

When would be the time to challenge that call? At the next whistle? Take a foul right away and then challenge?

Any sort of delay messes up the game, because if a foul was correctly called, there is no Clippers fast break. DeRozan goes to the line and if he makes both free throws and the Bulls lead by 1 instead of trail by 1.

You can't wait to change the call, because with a 1-point lead, the Clippers are trying to run out the clock. You can't wait 30 seconds and say, "Wait, it was a foul. Here's 2 free throws."

The NBA could decide to review a play, then if it was called incorrectly, erase everything that happened after it. In theory, the Clippers could have ran down the court and hit a 3-pointer to go up by 4. But after a successful challenge, the teams would go back to the point where the foul occurred, Clippers up by 1, and take it from there.

There were two occasions this season where DeRozan took a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer that didn't go in, but the NBA ruled the next day fouls should have been called.

Why shouldn't the Bulls be able to challenge those plays? The clock ran out, so it's a stoppage in play. It would put even more pressure on the referees to check a replay that will likely decide the outcome of a game.

But if the goal is to get the calls right, then go ahead and implement this plan. One other request: If a team wins its first challenge, it should get a second one. No more one and done.

The big NBA news on Sunday was Brooklyn reportedly trading Kyrie Irving to Dallas for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks. The Bulls are scheduled to visit Brooklyn on Thursday, shortly after the trade deadline hits.

In the meantime, the Bulls will finish off a four-game homestand Monday against San Antonio. A win would put them within a game of .500, but a tough three-game trip to Memphis, Brooklyn and Cleveland follows.

The Bulls listed Alex Caruso (left foot sprain) as questionable, and Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) probable for Monday's contest.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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