Refereeing mishaps in NBA Finals Game 4 trigger rigged claims
Down 3-0, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally made good on their #DefendTheLand hashtag and shot their way to a stunning 137-116 victory over the overwhelming title favorite Golden State Warriors on Friday, June 9 (Saturday Manila time).
The Warriors now have a 3-1 lead. Uh-oh, we've seen this before.
The Cavaliers executed an offensive masterclass, and then some. Led as always by the Big 3 of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, they smashed multiple records en route to the unlikely blowout victory, including most points in a finals quarter (49), most points in a finals half (86) and most threes in a finals game (24).
However, that's where the fun ended, as fans all over social media decried the refereeing that went down throughout the game. For a league already infamous for a long history of bad officiating, this is the last thing it needs. Apparently, to the fans, it was just that bad in Game 4.
So what happened?
For starters, the Cavaliers shot 21 free throws in the first quarter alone but ended the game at only 31 attempts. For a record-setting 49-point quarter, fans witnessed an agonizingly stagnant display instead of a free-flowing offense. The unevenness of free-throw chances over the course of the game is puzzling especially since the physicality ramped up after the first period.
It should be said that the disparity was eventually made up, and the Warriors shot 27 of 36 from the line.
Also, no backcourt violation was called on Irving even though he blatantly mishandled the ball over the half-court line. He was alone and no Warrior could've touched it first.
Then came the confusion over technical fouls. With the title on the line, players from both sides were expectedly more physical which resulted in tempers flaring up. James and Durant went at it verbally while Iman Shumpert and the ever-controversial Zaza Pachulia tussled up, resulting in double techs. Veteran reserve Dahntay Jones also got a tech for apparent trash-talking that would not even be called on a superstar like James or Durant.
Despite the influx of technicals during this game, the main scandal marring the game was the inconsistency of calls on the notorious Draymond Green. He somehow got away with elbowing players not once, but twice - one for Shumpert, which was only called a regular foul, and another on Tristan Thompson.
As if not getting calls was bad enough, Green was also subject to excessive technical fouls, which caused a lot of confusion for both teams and the scorers table. Halfway through the third quarter, the scrappy Warrior forward was supposed to be ejected after being assessed his second technical of the night, as called from the scorers table. However, the referees declared that it was only his first tech and that an earlier technical called on the first quarter was supposed to be for head coach Steve Kerr, not Green.
The following was released by the NBA: pic.twitter.com/nr8WvvXxRk— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) June 10, 2017
Two quarters went by and it was only during the confusion over the "second" technical when referee John Goble realized that the scorers assessed the Kerr tech during the first quarter incorrectly, which had been already publicly announced to the arena as a tech on Green. The mishap occurred because Goble forgot to verbalize it to the scorers table - a standard procedure for referees.
Whether Goble was telling the truth that he forgot to verbalize a technical foul and subsequently did not pay attention to the wrong announcement, the numerous mistakes committed in so far the most important game of the entire season is plainly unacceptable. Sanctions should be given to Goble and the rest of the referee team for bungling up when it mattered most.
The mother of Green took to Twitter to make insinuations, tweeting "These OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY PAID!" Former NBA player Olden Polynice said on Fox Sports Radio "I won't say it's rigged, but the NBA knows what ref crews they send to the games," according to Fox Sports' Jason Smith.
These OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY PAID! #— GreenMile (@BabersGreen) June 10, 2017
ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell had his own take: "Saying games are rigged is completely ridiculous. That being said, Warriors owners Joe Lacob & Peter Guber did make $11M tonight w/Game 5."
These finals have already been called boring and unwatchable, with columnists calling the so-called Era of Durant a disaster spearheaded by LeBron James' superteam ambitions. At this point, the league cannot afford to have the integrity of its officiating brought into question. – Rappler.com