Horrible Officiating in the NBA Playoffs

During the second round of the NBA playoffs, some games have been decided by terrible calls.

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Horrible Officiating in the NBA Playoffs

The referees watch a replay to see if they made the correct call.

The referees watch a replay to see if they made the correct call.

Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

The referees watch a replay to see if they made the correct call.

Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

The referees watch a replay to see if they made the correct call.

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Referees have always come under fire by NBA players and fans, but recently their controversial calls have led fans to question the legitimacy of the league. Many NBA analysts have also called for rule changes in order to make the execution of calls more clear cut. Although it is impossible to call a perfect game, the refs could definitely improve on their late game calls.

Fans post memes on twitter in response to the bad officiating in game one.

One game in particular seemed to prove fans’ conspiracies about referees being biased. This was the first game of the second round between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors won this home game 104-100, going up 1-0 in the series, but not without controversy. Everyone realized that throughout this game, Klay Thompson and other Warriors players guarding James Harden, had been jumping into his space on three-pointers on at least six different occasions. This is called a foul in most situations, yet it was not called during the entire length of this game. This inconsistency is the reason that analysts want clear cut rules, because something can’t be called in one situation but not in another. If the refs had called those fouls, the Rockets would have undoubtedly won that game. The league later admitted to missed calls that affected the outcome of the game during their two minute report for the game. After game one, the players for both teams had things to say about the referees. James Harden stated, “I just want a fair chance, man. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called and we’ll live with the results.”. In response to Harden’s bold statement, Draymond Green talked about referees having a hard job and told him to stop complaining. I asked Michael Labella about game one of the Rockets and Warriors series and he said, “They should’ve called those three point fouls, because they have been all season. The refs can’t just randomly change the way that they call fouls.”

Draymond Green is infuriated with the referees after they missed an obvious charge.

Game 3 ended in a similar way with a missed call. This time though, the missed call= and a missed dunk by Curry saved the Rockets in the last minute of the game. James Harden drove to the hoop in crunch time and ran directly into Draymond Green, who was standing there in order to draw a charge. No foul was called and Harden made the bucket, putting the Rockets up 126-121. As the fans cheered, Green ran over to the referees and argued the call with them. I asked Drew Ramos about game three of the series and he exclaimed, “Draymond said that people shouldn’t complain about the refs, so he can’t mention that play as a reason why they lost.” After the missed charge call, Stephen Curry dribbled down the court for a fast break and missed a wide open dunk. This sequence summed up game 3 for the Warriors. Now with the series tied 2-2 going back to Golden State, the referees need to make much more accurate calls to keep this series fair for everyone.

Celtics gear from the 2017-2018 season has the slogan “RiseTogether” plastered on the front.

Fans have also criticized the referees of other series, including the second round series between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. The main problem that fans and analysts have complained about in this series is the fouls and missed travel calls on Giannis Antetokounmpo. It seems as if when Giannis drives, he’ll either end up dunking the ball or ending up at the free-throw line. After game three Kyrie Irving complained about Giannis shooting 22 free throws saying, “It’s inevitable, the guy comes in almost six times in a row, gets free throws. What are you really going to do? It’s slowing the game down. He shot 22 on the game. It’s getting ridiculous at this point. It’s just slowing the game down.” Kyrie actually makes a good point considering that until the fourth quarter Giannis had shot almost as many free throws as the whole Celtics team combined. Although the Celtics are playing very physical defense, it is very obvious that he is getting more calls than anyone else in the playoffs. Other than the issue of figuring out what exactly is a foul on Giannis, there has only been one other main issue with a call this series. A foul was called on Jaylen Brown about three seconds after it happened, while the Bucks Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, screamed into the officials ear. This play fueled conspiracies that certain people influence the refs calls. I spoke with Ryan Labella to see his thoughts on the foul calls helping Giannis and he stated, “Although a good amount of the fouls called on players guarding Giannis are legitimate fouls, I feel like they should let the players be physical. That’s what they need to do throughout the NBA, not just during this series.” Although it seems like he influenced the call, it was most likely just a very, very late call.

These Raptors fans cheer on their team in the second round of the playoffs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto Canada.

In conclusion, throughout the course of the rest of the playoffs, the officials should make fair and unbiased calls. Obviously the referees get calls wrong and some blame can be put on them, but they are not completely responsible for the outcome of the playoffs. Referees have a hard job, but the league should definitely work on making rules more clear cut for next season.