Officiating Becomes an Issue Before Game 5


Apr 28

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Lost in the hoop-la-la of Ben Gordon’s achy hammy has been the ham-handed whining being done by the Celtics about the officiating in this series.

Perhaps that’s what veteran coaching is all about since we heard plenty of that from Phil Jackson and Pat Riley in some memorable playoffs in the 1990’s.

Though the NBA seems to be taking a no tolerance policy as Boston’s Doc Rivers Tuesday was fined $25,000 for referee comments. So were Rick Adelman and Nate McMillan.

Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, who fouled out of Game 4 at the end of regulation, told Boston reporters, “I don’t think the refs like the Boston Celtics.”

Perkins said it might have to do with the fact, “We’ve got a lot of talkers on this team.”

Perkins, though he’s hardly a lone violator, acts out every time he’s called for a foul as if he’s never committed one. Of course, we see much the same from Tyrus Thomas, who, at least, isn’t publicly complaining.

The teams supposedly have sent dueling tapes to the league offices with the Bulls questioning Boston’s hands on pushing and the Celtics showing the Bulls allegedly setting the same moving screens the Celtics are being called for fouls.

Such screens, of course, are illegal. But Rivers said the calls have been unbalanced.

“Clearly, every game he’s been targeted for these moving screens,” Rivers told Boston reporters. “Watching the tape, he did move but there was very little contact. Brad Miller, on the other hand, he’s laying guys out on screens and didn’t get one of those calls. That bothers me.”

Miller, by the way, fouled out of Game 4 in 25 minutes while Perkins fouled out after 40 minutes.

The Celtics apparently went one step farther.

In Monday’s Boston newspapers, there were items quoting “NBA sources” noting that two of the referees for the game, Dan Crawford and Bill Kennedy, live in the Chicago area and members of their families were wearing Bulls apparel to Game 4.

NBA sources, by the way, is generally a little misdirection for members of the complaining organization.

It’s a ludicrous charge for many reasons. One is more NBA referees live in the Philadelphia area than anywhere and it hasn’t done much for the 76ers. I know those Chicago referees and they really couldn’t care less about the home team. The NBA is sensitive to the referee issue since there were gambling questions about former referee Tim Donaghy. Gamesmanship? Does it work? Who knows, but it sure means the Bulls are in a playoff series.

“I think any coach or team or player wants the officiating to be consistent,” said Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. “You just want consistency and how you’ll be allowed to play. I try not to get too caught up. Obviously you get frustrated with some of the calls, but I don’t think anything is malicious or out to get you. You have to fight through it and keep your emotions in check.

“We’ve done some complaining,” Del Negro said. “But you have to fight through it. You have to be tough enough, smart enough. Understand the crew you have and how they’re going to call it and make adjustments accordingly. Both teams have handled the physical part. I don’t think there’s anything out there because someone is from Chicago or someone’s from Boston that they’re going to be any less professional. It’s a waste of time (to complain). You just fight through it. (And) I don’t think Brad’s fast enough to set an illegal screen.”

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