NBA Finals 2022: The rules, plays and processes referees are watching the closest

The NBA playoffsare full of moments that can swing a series: a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, a late and-1 bucket or an alley-oop dunk in front of the home crowd. Or in some cases, it might be the blow of the referee's whistle, as a late-game block/charge call or an overturned bucket could help make the difference between who advances and who goes home.

With the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celticsheaded for a best-of-three series in the NBA Finals, what will officials be watching the closest? Are any points of emphasis expanded when the games matter most? ESPN NBA insider Tim MacMahon caught up with Monty McCutchen, NBA senior vice president for referee development and training, for the X's and O's of challenges, whether the last-two-minute reports should be expanded, how Finals officials are chosen and the protocols of removing points off the board after a review.

What is reviewable during an NBA game? Are any of those parameters expanded during the playoffs? "Nothing is expanded. Our rules in the preseason in October are our rules in June for conference finals and [the NBA] Finals. That's a really important distinction to be made.

"The reviewable matters are a little more difficult [to explain], because we have 16 triggers and each of them have their own set of reviewable matters. We're looking to maybe unify that. For example, you can always look to see if a shot-clock violation took place or not. You can see whether someone [was out of bounds when they] jumped before the shot. You can see if there was an eight-second violation.

"On coaches' challenges, reviewable matters are out of bounds, goaltending and a foul called against your team. Let's say that you think the opponent's best player was the fouler, but they called it on their seventh man. You can't challenge that thinking that it's on their best player. It has to be called on your team."

Can referees overturn another call they notice while reviewing something else? "There's a difference in whether it's a challenge or whether it's a review. If it's a coach's challenge, let's say the official thinks it's an offensive foul and we call it a defensive foul. We most certainly can get that play called correctly if it is clear and conclusive, but it must be tied proximate to the play. You can't go over and see a play out of pick-and-roll and see some other play that you didn't call -- a guy pushed off in the corner -- and get that play called correctly. It's only what's tied to the play that you're challenging."