The NBA Finals Are “Officially” Annoying
Foul. Foul. Foul! You’d think that the NBA referees were competing in a whistle-blowing contest for $100k the way they’ve been calling fouls thus far in the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. They’ve called fouls for charging, flopping, slapping, smiling and a technical for that damn Kia hamster commercial (okay…not really). I go to sleep dreaming of fouls. I expect to get called for a foul for bumping carts at the grocery store. I call fouls when my phone rings. It’s gotten really out of hand. Check out the total number of fouls by game thus far in the NBA Finals.
Game 1: 54 fouls
Game 2: 58 fouls
Game 3: 47 fouls
Now let’s take a look at last year’s NBA finals between the Lakers and Magic for the sake of comparison.
Game 1: 44 fouls
Game 2: 49 fouls (including overtime)
Game 3: 46 fouls
It’s pretty bad this year folks.
It’s not just the amount of fouls that are called, it’s the type of fouls being called. Fans are groaning and Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson are grinding their teeth. Both coaches could not resist speaking to the media regarding the officiating in this year’s championship series, as there’s a ton of history tied between two of the biggest franchises in the NBA.
Jackson ripped the referees for calling fouls on Derek Fisher after game 2—which led to Ray Allen shooting the ball off screens with ease for a Finals record eight three-pointers and a grand total of 32 points—and was vocal about calls he thinks shouldn’t have been made. The result was Allen going from 32 points to 2 points on horrific 0-13 shooting in game 3.
“Maybe I should start complaining about fouls (like Jackson did). Maybe I can get a turnaround like it was turned around (in Game 3). That was amazing,” Rivers said to the media after the Celtics lost 91-84 and fell behind 2-1 in the best of seven series.
Jackson knows that his complaints led to a different game being called. However, he’s still flustered with how the Finals are being called.
And if he’s frustrated, fans of both teams are pulling their hair out every single time a whistle is blown. It’s really put a damper on a great series thus far. And I’m not saying the referees should cover their eyes and allow players to slap each other silly. I’m saying, let the game be played how it should and stop calling everything that could be a foul. This is the NBA Finals and nobody wants to see games where each team’s best players are riding the pine because of foul drama. In all three of the games played, the Celtics have had one of their stars in foul trouble. Ray Allen sat down in game 1, Kevin Garnett in game 2 and Paul Pierce in game 3. It really starts to make you wonder what would happen if an entire team fouled out.
Hopefully the refs get a grip on their whistle happy actions and let the series be played with the fluidity that a championship series should have. But I’m not holding my breath. Maybe I should just be quiet before they call a flagrant foul on me.
Photo Courtesy: Christian Petersen/NBAE/Getty Images