NBA and NHL Quick Hits: Celtics-Heat, Officiating, Prudential Center, Staples Center and More

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By Rob Kotaska

  • No matter what side you were rooting for in Sunday night’s Eastern Conference Finals game there is one thing you should be able to agree on: the officiating was absurd. This is not good or bad, though it was definitely on the latter’s side, it could only be defined as uneven and bat-shit crazy.
  • There was a sequence where Paul Pierce pinballed* off of Shane Battier, who fouled him with a hip check, bounced towards the hoop where he was consumed (the only way I can think to describe it) by a leaping D-Wade.   Wade enveloped Pierce’s head with his torso, got a pinky on the ball, and ran the other way…no whistle.
  • The insanity continued at the other end where Wade got a whistle when a Celtic looked at him the wrong way.  This sequence was one of many that made no sense.  Maybe it is the HD quality of broadcasts that show every detail but I cannot recall such bad officiating in the Golden era of the 80s and early 90s.
  • Given the officiating issues with the NBA I am not sure what to make of the NFL and their stand off with their own officials.   Given how the NFL dealt with their players I doubt they are giving a fair offer to the refs, who are very important to the product, especially in the age of HD and 24/7 high(and low) lights.  It is long overdue that the NFL make officials full-time, year round employees.  The players, fans and game deserve the highest quality of officiating.
  • The ice at the Prudential Center for games one and two of the Stanley Cup Finals looked horrible. The bounces and general lack of puck control, especially as the game went on made it look more like pee wee hockey than NHL caliber. The Devils lone goal took a bounce off the ice that town rec departments would be ashamed to have happen at their rinks.  It is inexcusable in the Finals.  Here’s hoping the Staples Center crew got it done right.
  • Not the happiest story, but very important: The New York Times has a must read on former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard and how a prescription drug addiction led to his tragic death at 28 years old.

“Mark it Dude”

* I feel like I owe NBC Sports Mike Emrick some royalties for using the term.  He uses it at least 10 times a game.  Play a drinking game while watching game three with “pinballed” as your word at your peril.

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