Not A Good Night For NBA Refs

By Michael Goldman | Posted 1 month ago

As a former player I always wanted the players to decide the outcomes of games. Last night that wasn't the case. The New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers faced-off  in game 1 of the second round of the playoffs. This highly anticipated matchup was pretty even for the entire game. Jalen Brunson dropped forty points for the 4th consecutive game which was overshadowed by some "questionable calls" by the refs. 

The player/referee relationship has always been strained. The refs have the whistles and players are at their mercy. The refs have a level of power that's scary and sometimes frustrating for players. What the ref says, goes and that's that. Some refs have better bedside manner than others. Good officials will talk things out and keep open dialogue during a game. The fact is, players don't make every shot they take so how can they expect refs to get every call correct. 

I'm acknowledging being a referee is a VERY difficult job. I know firsthand from my days of reffing youth basketball when I was younger. It was impossible to make everyone happy. However, what happened last night was egregious. With Game tied at 115 and under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Indiana’s Aaron Nesmith deflected a Jalen Brunson pass attempt which looked like it was going to lead to a wide open layup was ultimately called a kickball violation and the Kinicks regained possession. Kickballs are not reviewable even though it was clear as day Nesmith deflected the pass with his hand. 

The to top it off, with 12.7 seconds left and the Pacers down a point with the ball, center Myles Turner was called for a moving screen on Donte DiVincenzo. It was a close play and the Pacers challenged the call, but it was upheld on review. While technically it was the right call, it was way too close to blow the whistle in that moment. Maybe you make that call in the first quarter of a regular season game but definitely not in the final seconds of a second round playoff game. 

At the post game presser the Pacers handled the situation with class choosing not to rip into the officials. 



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