NBA Refs Have A Long Way to Go

It isn’t easy to be an NBA official in the aftermath of the Tim Donaghy era.  Whether you’re an honest, hard-working ref who gives his all every night or not, your judgment and morals are guaranteed to be questioned by fans, players, and coaches night-in and night-out.  A lot of times they don’t deserve it.  Other times they do.  Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals game between the Celtics and Magic happened to be a perfect example of poor officiating and overreaction affecting the outcome of an extremely important basketball game.

The NBA has designed its rules in a way that allows the league to cover up the blunders of its officials when necessary.  Flagrant and technical fouls can be reviewed after a game to determine if they should be upgraded, rescinded, or stand as called.  If the league was not designed in such a way, the Boston Celtics would be without arguably their best low-post defender in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday.  After being whistled for a foul in Wednesday Night’s Game 6, Kendrick Perkins stormed away from official Eddie Rush in anger, but Rush hit him with his second technical of the game anyways.  A look at the picture above shows that Rush was just waiting for a reason to hit Perk with the “T”, rather than walking away himself.  The second technical was Perkins’ seventh of the postseason — which would normally result in a one-game suspension — but the league got it right when they rescinded the technical, clearing Perk for Game 6.

The issue that doesn’t seem to be gathering much attention at the moment is the way in which the call affected the outcome of last night’s game.  Yes, the NBA changed the call and got it right so that Perkins will not have to serve a suspension, but isn’t much of the damage already done?  What the NBA did when they took back Perkins seventh technical of the playoffs is not simply clear him for Game 6 — they also admitted that a mistake made by one of their officials resulted in the Celtics losing their starting center for more than a full half of what could have been a series-clinching game.  The way things were going, the Magic probably were going to win anyway.  However, Rush created yet another unnecessary “what-if” situation with which the NBA must deal.

NBA officials not only need to start making better calls, they need to be more aware of the situation around them.  Sure, players need to learn to walk away more often and Kendrick Perkins is the definition of a hot head, but referees need to learn to walk away themselves.  Perkins was hardly trying to show Eddie Rush up by walking away; he was probably making sure he avoided getting thrown out by picking up a second technical.  Everyone and their mother knows that Rush had to have felt like a complete moron once he realized he had just gotten Perkins thrown out of the game.  There’s no doubt in my mind he completely forgot about the first technical Perk received, otherwise he would have ignored him instead of getting him ejected and possibly suspended in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Unless, of course, Rush was just making sure the series gets extended.  But we wouldn’t expect the NBA to play host to any type of crooked behavior like that, would we?

NBA rescinds Perkins ‘T'; eligible to play in Game 6 against Magic [AP/FOX Sports]
Photo Credit: Deadspin

Around The Web

  • SpinMax

    bad calls whatever. those refs woulda grabbed the ball and started shooting to avoid this being a sweep. i hate the nba. never watch again

  • http://foxsports.com TPAIN

    The fix is in!! Donaghy is 16-1 in these playoffs but yet he “doesn’t know what he’s talking about?”

  • rf in NH

    Flagrant foul? You think two concussions, repeated elbows flying into faces, driving players getting cold-cocked, tackled and thrown to the floor and then when they’re down having players deliberately “falling” on top of them or stepping on them, might qualify? You think? You wouldn’t do that in a street game in 3rd grade because you knew there’d be payback and if you did get that out of control, your teammates would have called you out and thrown you off the court. There was no point in playing game 5 between Magic & Celtics. Fine, just put a win in the books for the Magic. I’m OK with that. The Magic are a good team. If there had been a real basketball game, the magic might well have won a real basketball game anyway… but we’ll never know. The refs were the game and the game was over after the 1st half so I turned the “game” off. Thank you NBA. Great product? Don’t know, I wasn’t watching. The UFA is fine & real Basketball is too. But I don’t like them mixed. So the NBA needs to decide. Either put a cage around the court, no fake refs and no rules OR go back to real basketball. The refs in Game 5 was so obviously in the bag it was like watching old-style studio wrestling where the ref is supposed to fuel the “drama” and deliberately turn the wrong way as the fans are screaming for the ref to turn around before the local good guy, who’s laying helpless on the mat, gets clobbered by a hidden pipe the out-of-town bad guy has pulled out of his shorts before the good guy miraculously recovers later in the “match” and wins.

  • hibbard22

    The refs have been very poor in the Playoffs and Dwight and the Magic have also been called for ticky tack calls. Vince has gotten hammered a few times with no calls and even got his own technical for doing nothing. The bottom line is Kendrick Perkins has been a non factor in the Playoffs (look at his box scores in this series)…. Any story on Perkins right now is a joke and Magic fans should also not care if he plays in Game 6 – I would much rather have D12 on Perkins in the paint than leaving Wallace roaming the 3 Point Line…

  • Steve DelVecchio

    Hibbard, I don’t think any Celtics fans were afraid of losing Perkins because of his offense at all. Considering Glen Davis has a concussion and Rasheed Wallace left Game 5 with a sore back (both are game-time decisions), who would cover Dwight Howard in Game 6? Box scores don’t have anything to say about how effective Perkins is as a low-post defender, and that’s what Celtics fans were afraid of losing.

  • Skeld1

    Hibbard are you dense? Perkins box score doesn’t really show that he is one of the few who can defend Howard one on one and render him ineffective. This is one of the reasons they won the first 3 games. Losing him on Wednesday pretty much sealed the deal for the Magic.

  • Don

    How come no one has mentioned the other FIVE techs Perkins has received in the playoffs. If he wouldn’t have lost his cool or spouted off to the officials FIVE other times, this would be a non-issue. When D12 gets a tech he’s whining to the officials and deserves it, but when Perkins storms off like a 3 year old the officials did a bad job.

    I think it’s funny that the C’s are blaming the fact they are running out of gas on the officials. The same officials *cough*Joey Crawford *cough* that have historically always put a target on Dwight. Y’all make it sound like only the Celtics got fouls called against them. **IF** the officials called it even, then 75% of the fouls against Dwight would be flagrants. If you wrap your arms around a person and make NO attempt at the ball, that’s a flagrant. If Jameer bear hugged Rondo at the top of the key, is that just 2 FTs? Or do you also give the C’s the ball?

  • hainness

    Everyone wants to cry wolf…. but the celtics have been getting away with referee murder for decades but now that the shoe is on the other foot everybody wants to cry foul play. w/e man up and play ball

  • http://www.NotADoc.org/ Chris in Arkanssouri

    Celtics would not have 17 championships if not for bad calls (and non-calls) in their favor. No team cheats on purpose (grabbing shirts, shorts, shoving), flops, whines or complains more in the history of the NBA.

  • http://windowinternetexplorer willie j. williams

    Dwright Howard should have been suspended for the rest of the playoffs for deliberately hitting opponents with his elbow. the referees need to remove him tonight before the game starts or to warn him about the elbow tactic whenever he is held. hi referees! this is a sports fan, please do not cheat tonight for the Magics who are obviously handicapped. I want to saee Van Gundy lose his job for expressing racial hatred for Rasheed Wallace on National TV! Also, He can not go around telling his team to throw blows and to expect the referees to cover up for thier inability to play defence.

  • Steph

    people probably won’t want to hear this, but it’s the same problem out west. in games 3 and 4 Phoenix shot 74 freethrows to the L.A.’s 33! in game 4 the Suns shot 32 FTs to the Lakers 13, but shot more 3pt shots! the Lakers have more wins than any other NBA team in NBA history and yet when Bennett Salvatore is one of the refs, they have a losing record; how is that even possible? I agree that the teams have no choice but to man up and play, I just wish the players would be allowed to decide the outcome not the refs. if it’s a foul at one end of the court, it should be a foul at the other end, no matter who you are rooting for…

  • http://windowinternetexplorer Willie J. Williams

    To the Referees: The reason that Dwright Howard seems to be good in the low post is this “he violates the three seconds rules often” and “he pushes off with thew left arm”. He hates Perkins and Wallace because he can not have his way. A lot of calls made for him should be offenses calls against him. Boston should do what the L.A. Lakers did to him. They boxed him out and made him jump over their backs. In basketball, this is a foul and it may lead to a technical depending upon body contact! Let face it! the big kid does not have the skills yet to win a championship. Stop wasting his time and let him feel the truth! do not make bad cxalls tonight. I will be watching and David Stearn will hear from me if you do!

  • Don

    So, Dwight is not allowed now to jump for the ball, grab it and then come down if there is someone close to him? I’m sorry if people get hit but there is going to be contact. Game 5: Glen Davis (who is a player I really do like, even if he is a Celtic), Dwight Howard, Nate Robinson and another Celtic (Rasheed, maybe) were all trying to rebound. Dwight jumped higher then all of them, came down (gravity has that effect on people) and his elbow hit Davis. I guess he was throwing ‘bows. Game 4: Dwight gets a def. rebound, and as far as he can tell, the teams run down the court except Jameer. Dwight pivots to throw an outlet pass and KG is BEHIND Dwight and gets hit in the head with an elbow. That’s a cheap tactic by KG. The NBA thinks that Dwight should have eyes behind his head and hits him with an after-the-fact flagrant.

    @Willie: D12 gets called for 3 seconds all the time. Both off. and def. Perkins is tough but D12 owns Wallace. Davis plays Dwight better then Wallace.

    As for the refs… I agree they call a horrible game sometimes and some refs have it out for some teams (Salvatore vs. Lakers, Crawford/Javie vs. Magic). I wish they’d actually call less fouls but then Paul Pierce would have like 15 less points per game from jumping into people when he shoots.

  • Tre

    Did you think that Rajon Rondo should have been suspended for blatantly hitting Brad Miller in the face 2 years ago? Which stopped him from tying the game with the Celtics? A blatant dirty play, one which after the game Rondo said he wasnt going for the ball at all but after Millers head to stop the lay up. I bet in your mind it was just a smart, hard foul.

  • T

    The biggest problem with the officiating in the NBA is the charge call. There is no way that this many charges should be called in a game. How can you have a charge on one end and then on the ensuing possession another charge reverts the ball back the other way? My guess, is that it’s good television. Whenever a charge is called it incites a huge reaction (good or bad) from the fans, coaches, players, etc.

  • johnny jihadist

    just the mere fact that the end result of all these clown games can be questioned, NO MATTER WHAT IS IS, should tell you every single thing you need to know about the integrity of this league…proud to say i haven’t sat down and watched one of these fixed pre-determined pro bouncyball games in over 20 years, and i’m someone who’ll watch CBB until my eyes fall out…anyone who thinks tim donaghy was working all by himself is a puppet at the end of david stern and the Four Letter Network’s strings