NBA referees can rule closeouts as flagrants or technical fouls
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 22, 2017 06:11 AM
San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, center left, gestures next to center Pau Gasol during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.
Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.
NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia says Thursday the league has made the play a point of emphasis for referees in the spirit of player safety.