June 13, 2024

Lots of Grousing About Refs as Celtics Take 3-0 Finals Lead: It's all over but the crying in the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics have a 3-0 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks. Four fouls were called on Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter Wednesday, including a blocking call on a possible charge that sent him out of the game after the Mavs rallied from 21 down to within 3.

posted by rcade to basketball at 11:50 AM - 5 comments

This is two games in a row where the Mavericks are on the cusp of completing a comeback and a ref's decision puts an end to it. In game 2, a Jaylen Brown push of P.J. Washington directed his momentum under the rim and spoiled a dunk that would've tied the game, but doesn't get called. Now the Doncic call gets deemed a foul on him instead of a charge.

I feel like Boston defenders are being allowed a lot more physical contact in this series than Dallas. It might still be 3-0 anyway, but it's making the end of games a drag. I'd rather the Mavs get beat when both teams are playing well and the refs aren't in the forefront.

Some of the contact might admittedly be because players like Brown are really really good defending in crunch time. But I keep finding myself complaining about non-calls as much as Luka, and that doesn't make for fun viewing.

posted by rcade at 12:01 PM on June 13, 2024

I'm of two minds about Luka getting tossed last night: On the one hand, there is a tacit understanding in the NBA that sixth fouls are pretty damned difficult to earn in playoff games, so much so that I can recall Mavs' fans collective bootyholes pucker every time Lu Dort came back into the game with five fouls, assuming he'd get a few extra shots in before any ref would even raise a whistle to their lips. So it certainly felt like a huge break in protocol in the moment.

On the other hand: I'm not trying to add to the ongoing Luka dogpile too much, but he really has got to learn how to save his outrage for after the game. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn that Jaylen Brown went right at him on that drive figuring that he had a pretty good shot at getting a sloppy attempt at a charge as a result of Luka's mind being distracted and his reaction a half-step late. I'm also convinced that some significant portion of his injuries have been prolonged and/or exacerbated by some of the more outlandish foul-bait attempts. Maybe getting tossed in front of (most of) the 2011 Championship Squad *and* the Prime Minister of Slovenia will push him there. We can hope.

Overall I don't know that the reffing has been biased so much as just inconsistent within the games, which is really frustrating. Definitely feels like we've seen a lot of ticky-tack fouls one minute only to let someone get shoved out of the paint and into the third row during a rebound like they're in the pit at a Slayer show the next. For whatever it's worth, the Mavs have attempted six more free throws total in the three games, so it's not like we're seeing some kind of D-Wade getting 46(!) FTA's in two games in the '05 Finals-level bullshit or anything.

It was pretty amusing to see the ref completely ignore Derrick White intentionally try to foul on the inbound play at the end of the fourth last night. It's not often you see a basketball complain to the refs about not getting a whistle blown on them. Fortunately for Boston, Timmy Hardaway Jr. was the recipient of that inbound pass and he hasn't hit a field goal since game 6 vs. OKC back on May 18th, so one could argue the refs were doing them a solid on that one.

But really, I don't think it matters. This Boston team is incredibly good, and I'm not sure they're going to get the full respect they deserve for this run. They have four or five future Hall of Famers, two that are on the upswing of their primes, and are very well-coached and well-disciplined. And hoo-boy do they close out quarters well, something the Mavericks had been excelling at up until this series. I doubt there's another team in the West this year that would've fared much better (last season's Nuggets would have mad for a very fun Finals, but they didn't seem to have that same hunger this year for whatever reason; this Celtics squad would have cooked cooked the T-Wolves or OKC had either of them made the finals).

Okay, thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

posted by Ufez Jones at 06:25 PM on June 13, 2024

I can remember what the chatter landscape was like when the Heat smoked the Celtics last year. I scrolled through Boston Globe stories online to read the comments, which are a bit more thoughtful and knowledgeable than the sports radio show call ins.

Mazzulla was surely toast. And there was no way the team would pay Jaylen Brown. Just move him and get what value you can for him.

When the C's traded away the guys that gave them what little toughness and fortitude they'd had, it was WTF.

Fans were convinced the whole thing was circling the bowl. The howling when Jaylen got paid could be heard all the way up to the Canadian border.

Folks weren't thrilled when the C's got Porzingis. The joke was that he shouldn't go apartment hunting, he should just get a private room at Mass General, where the medical care is world class.

And even if the 2023-24 Celtics were any good, why would anyone want to see them get destroyed by the Nuggets?

For the Celtics to get from the position they were in then to where they are now is almost incomprehensible. Kudos to those who had a vision and held the line. That's why I'm sitting at home mulling it over and Brad Stevens is downtown running the show.

Also, I just got a senior discount when I went to buy mobility supplements. I felt like telling the checkout person that although Al Horford will qualify for that discount any day now, you won't need to give it to him because he'll never need the supplements.

posted by beaverboard at 07:35 PM on June 13, 2024

The swim move Jaylen Brown put on Luka Doncic in the first half of game 1 should be hung in the Louvre.

I'm pretty sure Al Horford was playing when I was a Celtics fan in the 1970s because Dallas had no team. John Havlicek used to kick it out to him in the corner for those pointlessly long twos.

posted by rcade at 09:00 PM on June 13, 2024

Well, that was very satisfying.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:34 PM on June 14, 2024

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