They don’t call traveling in NBA? Don’t tell that to Heat after missteps in Toronto – The Denver Post


Amid all that went wrong for the Miami Heat in Wednesday night’s 112-104 road loss to the Toronto Raptors, from the lack of available bodies, to the 19-rebound deficit, to allowing a 21-0 third-quarter run, one question certainly not raised was why traveling isn’t called in the NBA.

In the first game of the Heat’s four-game road trip that continues Friday night against the Washington Wizards, traveling was called 11 times, including seven times on the Heat. It was a key component in the Heat closing with a season-high 23 turnovers and finishing with 20 fewer shot attempts than the Raptors.

“I don’t know,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of what practically came off as an officiating foot fetish. “On any given night, you can call some of those, but not six or seven of them. But that’s neither here nor there.”

Actually, they were everywhere, including two apiece on the Heat’s Kyle Lowry and Max Strus, as well as one apiece on Nikola Jovic, Dewayne Dedmon and Caleb Martin.

“In high school or college, I might have seen that many,” Strus said. “It did feel like a lot.”

As is typical during most NBA seasons, officials tend to work closer to the letter of the law early in seasons to set a tone.

That tone arguably was set Wednesday night, as the Heat’s three-game winning streak came to an end, with their road losing streak extended to four.

“I guess it’s a point of emphasis and it’s been a point of emphasis,” Lowry said, “and I guess that’s what they’re looking at during the beginning of the season.

“But there were a lot of them called. So we’ve got to figure out getting the pivot foot solid.”

Three on the Heat were called during the Raptors’ game-turning 21-0 third-quarter surge, with the Raptors yet to lead until that rally.

“Some of the ones that were travels,” Spoelstra said, “I think they would have led to open shots at key moments.”

For the Heat, there has to be a fine line about any gripes, considering Tyler Herro’s game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Sacramento Kings was later ruled to have been a travel, and with the Charlotte Hornets’ Kelly Oubre Jr. last week called for a key late-game travel in what turned into a Heat overtime victory.

The NBA in recent years has somewhat eased traveling violations when it has come to the definition of a “gather,” but has remained steadfast on the positioning of the pivot foot, which was at the crux of Wednesday’s calls.

The concern after hearing such whistles is second thoughts before maneuvers that require fast-twitch movements.

So might it lead to more methodical play, where the Heat first make sure they have their footing?

“Not really,” Strus said. “I think you just keep doing it, see if they’re going to keep calling it, I guess.

“Maybe the floor was a little too slick. I don’t know what the case was. It happens.”

Yes, the Scotiabank Center had the ice down for the Maple Leafs, just as Capital One Arena will have the ice down for the Washington Capitals below the hardwood when the Heat play there Friday.

But that also certainly is not the reason why an 11-point Heat third-quarter league so quickly evaporated against the Raptors.

Lowry said Wednesday’s whistles can’t stop the Heat from walking the walk, even with the echoes of those seven traveling calls against the Raptors creating a quiet Heat locker room, one that had Jimmy Butler declining comment apparently over concern about potential comments about the officiating.

“You just got to keep playing, working through it,” Lowry said. “It sucks when you get called. When it goes against you, you’re always emotional. But you’ve got to figure out how to continue to work and play.”



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