The NBA: Where Soft Happens
Those were the exact words of ESPN analyst and former NBA coach, Jeff Van Gundy during the second quarter of Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals. If you were watching the Celtics and Magic finesse battle, you know exactly why he made that comment.
The referees handed out two technical fouls to Celtics center Kendrick Perkins in the span of three minutes towards the end of the second quarter. The first tech called was reasonable considering Perkins did throw a cheap elbow at Marcin Gortat after the play had already ended. The second technical foul call on Perkins appeared to be complete B.S. Actually, it didn’t even appear as if Perkins committed a personal foul, let alone a technical foul. As a result of the two technicals, Perkins got ejected before halftime when he didn’t appear to have done much. Not only that, but Perkins now has been called for seven technical fouls and will be suspended for Game 6 unless the league rescinds one of this techs (which they should).
Once Kendrick Perkins was ejected, the Celtics had to play Rasheed Wallace at the center position. Sheed already had three fouls at this point because the officials blew the whistle every time he initiated contact with Dwight Howard down low. While the calls seemed reasonable, what I don’t understand is the lack of consistency. How did the officials allow the Celtics to get away with their bruising style the first three games of the series but decide to go soft in Game 5? Why is it that the refs called a blocking foul on Paul Pierce when he clearly was set and taking a charge from Dwight Howard? Are they just now making up for the first three games of the series where they allowed Dwight Howard to get mauled down low? I guess so.
The NBA is not only where soft happens, it’s also where conspiracies happen. The Magic didn’t just happen to shoot lights out on Wednesday night utilizing the high screen and roll, they also got a few key assists from the referees who truly seemed like they wanted to extend the series.
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