Koreen: reffing complaints just a savvy move
Old 04-22-2014, 03:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Koreen: reffing complaints just a savvy move

Toronto Raptors’ comments on referees a bit of savvy strategy, nothing more | National Post

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Yes, we are talking about the referees. Objectively, it is ridiculous, no matter what disgraced official Tim Donaghy might say on the radio. The officials called four more personal fouls on the Raptors than the Nets, who shot two more free throws than Toronto in Game 1. This was not Dwyane Wade getting a trip to the line whenever he stepped foot in the paint in 2006, nor was it the infamous Lakers-Kings series in 2002 that Donaghy was a part of. It was a poorly officiated game — one of many.

The Raptors were not happy about it. They have been careful not to outright complain. Raptors coach Dwane Casey made note of the zero team fouls called against Brooklyn in the fourth quarter, and how strange that was. He is right: It was strange. However, Casey was only pointing it out to put it in the minds of Tuesday’s officials. This is strategy. These are the playoffs.

“I’m not going to really get on the calls,” said Brooklyn forward Paul Pierce, who is having some serious fun with all of the noise surrounding this series. “I think we had a lot to do with everything that went on in the game. I thought we played well defensively. We were solid. We played without fouling. You know, the refereeing, it’s going to be what it is for both sides. We could say something about the refereeing on our side, but we’re not going to get into that. We understand that it’s the playoffs. A lot of calls may not go your way and we understand that as veterans. You’ve got to be able to play through it.”

Pierce is poking fun at the whole situation, and being willfully ignorant, if only a little. Garnett will get the benefit of the doubt when Jonas Valanciunas often will not, and the same is true of Pierce versus Terrence Ross. You can argue that the one call that the Raptors did get in the fourth quarter — an offensive foul on Brooklyn guard Deron Williams — was merely the result of the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry having a reputation for drawing charges. Suggesting that the referees’ unconscious favouritism goes beyond that is silly.

The Raptors lost for so many valid basketball reasons on Saturday: their 19 turnovers, their failure to play transition defence, DeMar DeRozan’s poor play, their inability to push the pace, their poor defensive rotations. The officials might crack the top-10 of that list, but that is no sure thing.

By pointing out that the officials did not have a good afternoon on Saturday, the Raptors are engaging in some savvy strategy. These are the playoffs, and if you do not use every weapon at your disposal, you will immediately be shorthanded. It also fits in nicely with the Raptors’ re-branding, which so far has focused on how the Raptors are outsiders in the NBA. That is wonderful for them.

The playoffs can be a circus, and this series has not disappointed in that regard. However, if any members of the Raptors organizations or the team’s fans are focusing on the officials, they are also ignoring the substance of what happened on Saturday.
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