Bernstein: Don’t Whine About Bad Call

By Dan Bernstein–

CHICAGO (WSCR) We have a tendency in this town to look for scapegoats when things go badly for the home team. Ask Steve Bartman, Hue Hollins, Jerry Dybzinski, and the Gatorade-soaked glove of Leon Durham.

It’s human nature to take out frustration on an easily-identifiable, nearby target (right, Andrew Bynum?), and it’s almost always misguided. Such is the case if you’ll choose to be one of those today piling on referee Bennett Salvatore for his screwed-up call in the fourth quarter last night.

With the Bulls trailing by six with 2:27 left, Derrick Rose appeared to be fouled by Jamal Crawford on a three-point attempt. Salvatore blew the whistle, and it looked like Rose would have the chance to cut the deficit to three from the line. Oddly, however, Salvatore waved it off, declaring “inadvertent whistle,” and signaling a jump ball. Hawks won the ensuing tip, got a dunk from Al Horford, went up by eight and pulled away.

The postgame explanation made it weirder. “An inadvertent whistle is when a ref blows his whistle and didn’t mean to,” Salvatore told a pool reporter after the game. “I didn’t think it was a foul. Having watched replay, it was a foul. I made a mistake. I was wrong.”

Usually, inadvertent whistles occur at odd times – truly accidents, when a ref coughs or forgets he has the whistle in his mouth. Everybody stops, looks around, and says “Huh?” Then things are reset and there’s no harm done. In this case, though, it seemed he called a foul that he saw, then un-saw it and un-called it. First time many of us have ever seen that.

Too bad. I advise you to let it go.

Even respected, veteran refs screw up. Salvatore did not expose the Bulls’ slow, indecisive rotations on defense, nor did he cause the offense to stagnate as Kyle Korver launched a barrage of wayward scuds and everyone else stood around watching Rose miss shots and fumble the ball.

Take your cue from the Bulls themselves, who were as professional as could be, knowing their poor play was responsible for the outcome. Rose was cool with it, saying “That’s basketball. Hopefully next time they’ll call it. It was a tough game. No excuses. I put this game on me. Two turnovers at the end.”

Tom Thibodeau, in his signature Confucian style, said “Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.” Even he had a bad night, failing to find an adequate counter to the Hawks’ larger, more aggressive front line early, and picking up a late technical by Webbering himself.

Some of you will fire off emails and make angry phone calls today, saying things like “That call changed the game!,” “We were robbed!” and, from the one unhinged creep who lost money, “Everybody knows the games are fixed!”

Save it. You know what changes games? Defense. Oh, and rebounding, making shots and taking care of the ball at important times.

Salvatore’s bizarre mistake is nothing more than a convenient focal point after a night when plenty else went wrong.

The Hawks made the Bulls lose and the Bulls made the Bulls lose.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Dont Whine About Bad Call

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • Larry Horse's Arse

    No whine from me.
    The Bulls got beat.
    I think the Bulls win this in 7 because the Hawks are a tough team.

    • Meatless Meatball

      Whining is ridiculous, true, Arse… but don’t you think it’s legitimate to criticize anyone who doesn’t step it up for the playoffs? Most of us have been quite critical of Boozer, and Korver and, to the extent that he’s taken bad shots, Derrick deserve criticism, too. Shouldn’t we be equal-opportunity and criticize a bad night for Danny Crawford’s crew’s bad night? (And it was a bad night on both ends of the floor for both teams; it didn’t favor either the Bulls or the Hawks, IMO).

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Excellent post, MM.
        Yes, there is much room to criticise the refs.
        I just don’t want to whine/dwell on it because my considerable gut says that the Hawks beat the Bulls last night even without benefit of the refs bad calls. (Good point that the refs effed up on both ends).
        The Hawks really took it to the Magic, they are a team with some talent.
        The Bulls are in a tough series and I think it will go 7.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        typo, z instead of s in criticize

        I’m an idiot, and need not Crawford’s crew for that judgment!

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    I hope that B&B today is not A Day Of Whine And Rose.

  • AT3374

    Hey it could be worst , like being the defending champion and making a fool outa yourself on national tv , cause your ticked off and can’t defend the three point line and make a basket to save your life . Great way to end Jackson’s coaching career Odom and Bynum .

    The Bulls will be fine , ATL got their two games and the Bulls will win this next one and finish them off in ATL .

    Miami / Boston will be a heck of a game tonight also

  • Beverly Brewmaster

    Dan, for the sake of office unity, I recommend that in the future you refrain from referring to Dan McNeil as “the one unhinged creep who lost money.”

  • Marquette boy's brother in law

    Did any one notice when there was around 2:40 left in the game, after a hawks basket the gameclock kept going and while d.rose walked the ball up the court without touching it the clock continued to run. Bulls called a timeout I believe with 23 on the shot clock but 10-15 seconds dissappeared. I thought the clock always stopped after a made basket. Home court advantage?

  • Rodger Phillips

    Bernstein is the biggest whiner on the score…too funny

    • Meatless Meatball


      • Chris in Scottsdale

        He won’t have one, MM. Random idiots can spout off unfounded accusations on the interwebs and not have to defend them. I can’t remember ever hearing him “whine” about a call, saying it was the difference in a game. In fact, he seemed to be pretty tough on the Bears for getting the calls that they did.

        His philosophy is usually “play better so a single call doesn’t dictate the game”.

        …but this is the interwebs, so Rodger McIdiot’s post is here, ready to bait me.

      • Beverly Brewmaster

        That’s no random idiot. That’s Phil Rodgers.

        You didn’t think you’d fool us by switching your first and last names, did you, Phil? ;-)

      • RealRick

        His pearl-clutching about Rose’s ankle last week, for starters.


        Just check out his blogs.

  • Apologies R Us

    NBA Deja Vu. Ask for it by name.

  • Eric

    Why would Bulls fans whine about it? When refs make mistakes in a playoff series–or even just give the appearance of impartiality–they tend to overcompensate in the next game. The Bulls should get some breaks and didn’t even have to complain to get them (I’m looking at you, Phil).

    • Eric

      “or even fail to give the appearance of…”*

  • Jason Maslanka

    No need to whine, but clearly Salvatore should be fired. I don’t understand why these folks get to make huge mistakes and keep their jobs. There are plenty of qualified individuals to be NBA officials.

    That may not have cost the Bulls the game, but it was one of the most ridiculous calls I’ve ever seen. For that, he should be fired.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      As an NBA official, your job is to make countless split-second calls that could have extraordinary implications on the outcome of a game, playoff series, or season. I’m guessing every NBA official has made a mistake like this at some point; it just so happens that his came at a bad time. I don’t think it shows that he’s any worse than most NBA officials and don’t think it merits him being fired. If you see a pattern of such blown calls, sure. But not for one specific instance.

  • Sharpie

    Man, that sucked. The Bulls need all the breaks they can get if they want to beat Miami (yes, I think Miami wins that thing vs. Boston – probably easily). Now we get pushed to at least 6. You’ve gotta hope the Heat-Celtics series is dragged out. And it all started because of the lackadaisical effort given in Game 1. These Bulsl think they’re the Dynasty Bulls. Actually, I think there’s a deep-seated sense of entitlement and arrogance about these Bulls (what you say matters, Reinsdorf, MJ didn’t help). They did it all season. Deng said it after Game 1, and now Noah is saying the Bulls became complacent before last night’s game. Now, you incur more injury and fatigue. I don’t get it. Boozer looked slightly better on one end, and is still KILLING the Bulls on the other. Him and Korver are in a fierce battle for “worst defender” and “most useless when not scoring.”

  • Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

    Clearly the reffing didn’t “cost” the Bulls the game as much as their lackluster D and poor shot selection at the end of the game…but to fail to recognize how Salvatore’s two non-calls(no charge call on Teague/Korver with under 4 to go and the Rose three pointer) severely affected the end of the game. Take away the resulting layup on the non-called charge and assuming Rose hits 2 pf his 3 FTs, i’s a 2 pt game and Atlanta’s ball after the Rose incident instead of 6 pt game and Atlanta’s ball. That’s a huge swing with about 2 minutes to play. Not recognizing the effect this pooring reffing has on the game is equally as dumb as saying the reffing “caused” the Bulls to lose.

    • RJB

      Because we have this conversation every time a referee blows an important call (anyone remember March Madness?), please take note: Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer has just given the only correct response. Fault is often, and in fact is usually, comparative. Failing to recognize this is mind-bogglingly mushy-headed.

  • Jake from da Burbs

    Here’s my frustration about the refereeing.

    1. In a game of inches and seconds and milliseconds, a critical blown call like that IS a big deal. Lets not sweep it under the rug because it was a HORRIBLE call that had a 5 point swing effect .

    I understand the Bulls were bad and terrible defensively and they may have still lost but being down only 3 points changes the way the team can play defense to get a stop. When you’re down 8, you suddenly have to change defensively — press the perimeter that would exposing your interior and thats exactly what happened leading to several easy up close shots.

    2. There were just a ton of missed calls especially towards the end of the game. The Hawks were hacking Rose up and down and there just wasn’t any calls especially in the 2nd half. There was a play when Deng had his man up in the air, got contact and threw up a shot to get the call but it was no where. Down the floor that next possession, Josh Smith did the same exact thing and he gets the call and the bucket. Maybe its the homer in me but didn’t think the calls were exactly straight but I guess thats how Stern’s league runs.

    3. In a league that actively acknowledges Superstar calls, I just dont know how Rose doesn’t get more calls. He was constantly driving and getting hit and gets no calls. History has shown that if you complain ala Wade, Bryant, James, the refs will comply and up the calls in favor of that superstar. Maybe thats what Rose needs to do and give more faces and throw hands in the air and complain more. That just sounds so backward though…

    Well thats my frustration… I’m not blaming the refs nor am I absolving the Bulls for the defensive lapses and offensive standing around. But dont think the refereeing hasn’t been great either.

  • Brewers Yeast Infection

    Make your free throws, and you don’t have this problem to begin with!!!

  • RealRick

    We know from Game 2 that the Bulls are capable of beating this team even when the Bulls have a bad game.

    It wasn’t just one bad call that affected the outcome.

    It was lousy, one-sided officiating throughout crunch time that affected the outcome of the game. I’m just glad that Rose survived getting out of the paint in those last 2 minutes without getting injured.

    Since this poorly officiated game came on the heels of the Lakers being swept out the door, the conspiracy theorists are going to jump out of the woodwork.

    And the NBA has only this incompetent crew of officials to blame for that.

    Oh, and btw, this blown call is the headline on Yahoo right now.

    Not Yahoo Sports.


    Wonder if Bernsie thinks Yahoo is some kind of whiner site too…..

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      Who’s the whiner???


      His pearl-clutching about Rose’s ankle last week, for starters.


      Just check out his blogs.”


      You do realize those Yahoo headlines differ from user to user based on where you live, right? They’re catering it to what you want to see, and it’s no secret that sports meatballs love to whine.

      • RealRick

        I just used Yahoo as one example.

        The blown call and Jackson’s exit are the NBA stories everywhere.

        Just surf the ‘net and look for yourself.

        If you don’t think the officiating in crunch time didn’t affect a game that was nip and tuck up to that call, you’re not viewing what happened objectively.

        And since you love to quote my posts so much, why did you miss this part?:

        We know from Game 2 that the Bulls are capable of beating this team even when the Bulls have a bad game.

        It looks like I acknowledged the Bulls played a bad game, doesn’t it?

      • dan's hockey gay

        your gay

    • Spoon

      Yahoo is relevant to people?

      • Beverly Brewmaster

        I want to know what GeoCities has to say on the subject.

      • Meatless Meatball

        The people in my Yahoo chatrooms tell me it is.

  • Tim in PA

    It’s my playoffs and I’ll whine if I want to.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Nicely played.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    NBA referees are the worst officials in sports.

    But aside that fact, The blown call last night doesn’t matter.


    Forget about the questionable calls and that one non-call in which Derrick Rose’s trey attempt turned out to be an “inadvertent whistle” in the 4th quarter of Game 4 last night in which the Hawks ended up beating the Bulls 100-88 in Atlanta to tie the East Semis at 2-2. There were other reasons why this is now a Best 2 out of 3 between these two teams. One of them was points in the paint, where the Hawks outscored the Bulls 56-40. Another was the lack of production from the “Bench Mob”, where the Bulls only scored 14 points. Another was Luol Deng being held to 4 points in the final 24 minutes and ended up with 13. Another was the defense missing assignments and the offense not scoring down the stretch. Bad calls aside, there were countless reasons why the Bulls & Hawks are now a Best 2 out of 3, folks.

    In my opinion, this team lacked energy from the getgo. It was a far cry from Derrick Rose’s 44 point effort that left everyone in Atlanta in awe Friday in Game 3. If there’s one good thing that comes out of this loss, it’s this. United Center has 2 of potentially the last 3 games in this series. Now is the first test to see if getting home court advantage was really worth it. Based on previous experience, the Game 5 winner likely wins the series tomorrow night.

  • big time sucker

    i still blame hue hollins for game 5 in 1994, that was a different scenerio, that cost the bulls the series and game and they were OVERACHIEVING and playing the NBA FINALISTS to a standstill. this was different, this was an UNDERACHIEVING effort, or lack therof. Noah needs to get his head out of the clouds, deng needs to regain his shooting touch, rose needs to look up every once in a while in the 4th quarter, y ou finally get booz going and then forget about him. s king was right yesterday, why rush the ball when josh smith has it 24 feet away from the basket? lots of things caused that loss, the ref’s blown call COULD have made a difference, but why should it have?

  • DoubleA

    I just had to shake my head at that call and laugh a little. The NBA continues to walk that thin line between being a real sport and WWE-sque sports entertainment. The same league that gives us Crawford’s officiating crew makes sure that the Bulls were able to draft Rose in the first place.

    I’m not worried about the Bulls at all. Our television market is much larger than Atlanta’s.

    • DoubleA

      And, yes, that last comment was sarcastic…. Sort of.

    • RealRick

      LIke I said earlier, the NBA has no one to blame but itself for that dog-breath officiating job on the Bulls after the Lakers got swept.

      Let the conspiracy theorists have at it!

      • big time sucker

        ummmmmmmm y ou would think the NBA WANTS chicago to advance without LA WCfinals not watchable, you just watch, ESPN who was going to broadcast about 1/2 of the WCF’s will now get games 1-5 and probably 6, if it goes 7 ABC will pick that up. Dallas vs OKC or Dallas vs Memphis= bad ratings.

  • Disco El Bo

    Here’s a toast of my rose wine to the Celtics and Heat continuing to beat each other up.

    • El Bo Knows

      Maybe a Shack/DaBron/DaWade collision?

  • Derrick Rose

    I have to agree, there is no need to whine about NBA officials. They have been horrible in the past, they are currently horrible and will be horrible in the future. There will probably be a key moment in game 5 or 6 that will hose Atlanta so that’s just the way it goes. It would sure be nice to be able to do your job so poorly and still keep it.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Milton Bradley was DFA.

    Goodbye Milton…try making a living now like the rest of us.
    It’s a tough world.


      “Talk to me! I’m a man! I’m farty!”

      Or, is it forty?

      I love that drop-in.

      Watch him become, like, a really excellent curator in a zoo, or something. He’ll be like Andy Bernard (“s’up, Tuna?”) in the Office.


    I saw the replay. I’d say it’s an odd call, but the Bulls have to play better in the other 45 minutes.

    Just like the Cubs are going to have to take their lumps if the Pirates and the Reds continue to take home series.
    They should put the ball on the ground, and let those defenses implode.

  • meesohawnee

    its beverly brewmaster’s fault Uncle Milty got cut. .. not the .218 !!


    In the wake of the Lakers getting branded by the Mavericks in a 4 game sweep in the West Semifinals, executives at ESPN/ABC are wondering two things right now. Can they flipflop the upcoming Conference Finals with TNT? Consider this for a moment…Bosses in Bristol, CT, New York & Los Angeles have been trying for 3 years now to get Kobe & LeBron in the NBA Finals, which won’t happen in the wake of Kobe’s now former NBA Champions getting their clocks cleaned. Needless to say, the Western Final between the Grizzlies/Thunder winner and the Mavs won’t exactly be “Must See TV”. The folks in Atlanta, home of Turner Sports, can expect huge box office when they air the Eastern Finals either this weekend or sometime next week. Also, wouldn’t it be something if NBA Commissioner David Stern hands the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban next month after everything Cuban has said about the Commish? Talk about awkward!

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