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To the NBA Refs: Let the Players Play the Game

I’ve been pretty much hearing this the whole time. The Celtics got screwed with some calls. The Lakers got screwed with some calls. Well, BOTH teams got screwed by the referees.

I really don’t have any intention of rewatching the game because as much as it is well-played when there are no whistles being blown, it’s hard to watch a game that is just full of it. Kobe Bryant got called for two phantom fouls. Kendrick Perkins got called for a foul on Kobe without touching him. Paul Pierce blocked Ron Artest cleanly and got called for a foul there. Dave thought that Pau Gasol touched the ball last on a crucial possession while everyone else thought that Kevin Garnett poked it last.

Yes, the officiating has been horrible. And this is the kind of bullshit that gets people thinking there’s a conspiracy against their team (which gets REALLY tiring, believe me). But as much as people want to believe a Tim Donaghy, do realize that officiating is subjective and can be a very difficult job in any level. From personal experience, I played in a rec league with Nick, Peter, and Dave. The referees there were bad in my view, too! So I don’t really believe in the conspiracy theories people mention… but I DO agree that officiating HAS to get better and be more consistent. Even Jack Nicholson hates it.

I can forgive Game 1. They decided to call it really tight after Ron Artest and Paul Pierce got tangled up. Game 2 was almost unwatchable, though. So many botched calls. I hope to not see that again the rest of the series. These two teams are the best of the best NBA teams. Let them play their game and let us watch some great basketball.

I get that the referees won’t be perfect. But clean it up, at least. And don’t try to be THE superstars in what could still be potentially a great series. Referees are there to moderate the game, not to add to the drama. And while Game 1 was consistently called tight, I hope they let the players play in Game 3. Let them have a little physicality. Let THEM provide the action and the drama. They’re the stars of this show. Refs, don’t blow the whistle too often or else people will accuse you of blowing something else.

And to those that said that the Lakers lost because Kobe Bryant was sitting down for most of the third quarter, the Lakers led, 90-89, with a little bit over three minutes left. Maybe players and fans alike should worry about execution more than the referees. Because execution is going to win over referee calls any day. They didn’t get EVERY call wrong, ya know. Maybe Lakers should try guarding Ray Allen next time or go back to what works in the offense instead of putting up bad perimeter shots.

Let’s hope for a well-played game and officiating that’s a tad competent.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mark J. Terrill/AP.

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