Fans always think their team got screwed by the referees. The fan’s anger is usually over a call that could have gone either way, but because of their hometown bias they believe that it clearly should have gone their way. What’s upsetting to a lot of fans is that there is no way to justify what they believe to be correct, unless you are a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Today Rob Thorn who is the NBA’s president of basketball operations came out today and said that the referees missed a crucial foul call in yesterday’s game 1 of the Los Angeles Clippers Golden State Warriors playoff series which the Warriors won 109-105.
With 39 seconds left and the Clippers trailing by 2, Chris Paul was trapped near the sideline by the Warriors Draymond Green. As Paul dribbled with his right hand in an attempt to get by Green, the two made contact(which was instigated by Green) which jarred the ball from Paul’s possession. The ball hit Paul’s hand as it went out of bounds and after a review the Warriors were award possession of the ball. Thankfully, the NBA did come out and say the got the replay review for possession correct! Awesome, you got an obvious review correct which was triggered by a missed foul call! Just get it right the first time, especially in the playoffs.
What is really frustrating for many Clippers fans is that the referees let that contact go, but whenever Blake griffin made slight contact with anyone he was whistled for a foul(especially his 6th, disqualifying foul). Griffin played 19 minutes, and scored 16 points. I will admit, it happened to both teams as Andre Iguodala fouled out and only logged 20 minutes. The referees yesterday obviously tried to set a tone early, but they have to let these teams get after it like they did in the regular season. It’s completely unfair to strip away the physicality aspect of this series especially for a guy like Iggy whose success is predicated on his hard-nosed on ball defense.
None of this excuses the Clippers incredibly poor play yesterday, including scoring droughts, sloppy play down the stretch, and awful defensive rotation. Doc Rivers recognized the poor officiating and believed it occurred because the series was “hyped”, but also said “it was no excuse for our poor play”.
It is clear moving forward it is not the players who need to change their style, it’s the officials. The fans should not be seeing Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala, two of the best players in the series, taken out of the game because of hand checks, nor should we see them miss crucial calls down the stretch. Players did look hesitant with their defense yesterday because they weren’t sure the amount of contact that would be allowed.
Many thought this would be the most entertaining game of the series, but this prediction is based off of the physical play that the fans want to see. Head official Mike Callahan needs to make sure that he and his crew need to allow contact, draw a line, and ensure they are consistent. Whether that comes fruition remains unseen, but what is apparent is that if the referees continue to officiate the way they did in game 1 the series will not live up to its’ potential.