Doc Rivers is too classy to whine about officiating, and Ainge has to pretend to be classy because he’s management, so allow me to vent for them!
We all agree that the Celtics blew it at the end of the Game 4. True there is the totally uneven technical foul calling that I sited in yesterday’s post, which actually did cost them the game. True there’s the Jameer bank-in accidental hero three, the type of Marbury-esque game saving move that will actually miss and take you out of 8 out of 10 games. But let’s face it. If Boston has executed 1 time in the last few possessions of regulation, they could have ended things at home.
Now the C’s went and, predictably, got crushed on the road and in the process may have lost their two most important defensive players for Dwight Howard. Kendrick Perkins, a technical foul magnet since he makes faces and isn’t famous enough to get away with it, was ejected with two pathetically unnecessary technical fouls before halftime of game 5. Big deal, right? Wrong. Those were Perkins’ 6th and 7th technical fouls of the post-season. 7 technicals means a mandatory 1 game suspension.
It’s a ludicrous notion considering the fact that 4 of the 7 technicals were referee “split the difference” double technicals called whenever two biggish players lock up and the refs can’t make a real foul call. Let me also interject that in the playoffs, if nobody is actively trying to disable his opponent, then that’s not a technical foul. The refs’ delicate sensibilities and league’s desire to take all the edge out of the game makes technical fouls far too arbitrary. There’s a suspension likely to take place due to 100% subjective calls in situations where there was never any danger of harm. The calls helped in no way. They didn’t stop a brawl (and that’s what this is about – Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson). They didn’t do anything that a ref breaking up a scramble of players or walking away from heated words wouldn’t have solved just as easily. I would say that the league should show some mercy here, but they suspended Amare and Diaw for standing up and taking three steps and then sitting back down. And Amare was famous and making a lot of money. I don’t think Perk is even going to get to make the case.
So the Celtics are facing a game six at home, the perfect close out game situation for them, and potentially they will be without their starting center and best defensive option on Dwight Howard. Compounding the problem, Dwight Howard (who finished the game with 2 fouls in 40 minutes of play and no double technicals in his lock-ups with Celtics bigs and has a winning smile AND was featured in McDonald’s commercials… incidentally), gave reserve Celtic big man, Glen Davis a concussion. His status for game 6 is now suspect as well.
Anyway this series has already been extended by the refs making (and then on the other end of the court not-making) technical foul calls. If Perkins misses game 6, and it costs Boston their last chance to close the series at home, the refs may have actually decided the series with technical foul calls as well. I’ve complained in the past that I honestly don’t tune into NBA games because I love to watch Joey Crawford be an oversensitive bully with a whistle, but if the egos of officials and the Artest-terror of the league actually turn out to be the deciding factor in the series… then what percentage of the game is competition, and what percentage is marketing and image-protection? If I want to watch that, I’ll flip over to E!