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Heinsohn on D&C: Howard getting away with flagrants

05.27.10 at 2:39 pm ET
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Comcast Celtics analyst Tommy Heinsohn joined Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to give his take on the officials from Wednesday night’€™s Game 5 loss and why Dwight Howard should be suspended.

‘€œI was up at the [Comcast] studios at Burlington and was in the conference room watching [Game 5],’€ Heinsohn said. ‘€œThere were several people and we kind of all were hit with the same thought that these [referees] are incompetent.’€

Heinsohn also touched on the similarities and differences in Rajon Rondo and Hall of Famer Bob Cousy‘€™s game.

Below is a transcript. Visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page to hear the interview.

I want a mental picture of you during last night’€™s game. Where were you watching it and with whom were you watching it?

I was up at the studios at Burlington and was in the conference room watching the game. There were several people and we kind of all were hit with the same thought that these [referees] are incompetent.

What was Ed Rush thinking on the technical foul calls?

Well this guy goes way back. I got in hot water some years ago when I said ‘€œEddie F. Rush. F for fool.’€ I used that because in a game against the Knicks on the very last play, they tried to get [Patrick] Ewing the ball. The man passed it five feet away from Ewing, it went out of bounds, the Celtics are going to win the game, and he calls a foul on [Robert] Parish like he was holding him or hitting him or something and they end up winning the game. This guy has had no common sense, I don’€™t know why he’€™s still around. He has a history, I’€™ve been watching the game all these years, I just marvel at how they let him keep refereeing.

Do you think that referees know what’€™s best for the league and network?

I have no idea what Tim Donaghy said, No. 1. No. 2, I wouldn’€™t take anything he has to say seriously like he’€™s the authority on it because he’€™s trying to get out of jail. I do know that officials are intimidated by the crowd and it’€™s kind of natural when 20,000 people start yelling at you, all of a sudden you get affected.

When I was coaching against the Knicks, we played down at Madison Square Garden and we’€™re up 18 points and all of a sudden [the crowd] start screaming at the referees and they were yelling ‘€œdefense, defense, defense.’€ The two referees called 19 straight, believe me when I tell you, 19 straight fouls against us and we lost the game. The two referees were suspended from the league after that and one referee went and officiated in the ABA. We played a preseason game, that official fouled out Dave Cowens in six minutes and called eight technical fouls on me in a preseason game. Now tell me these guys don’€™t hold a grudge.

Are there agendas because someone has a problem with a particular guy or particular team, generally speaking?

They get memos every game so they must be conferring about something. But one thing that bothers me very, very much is this guy Howard belted [Kevin Garnett] in the prior game three times, and they call a flagrant foul after they review the film when this guy actually had three flagrant fouls in this ballgame and nobody every called it. So somehow or another, they give him a little leeway, and last night was another example of what he’€™s capable of doing. That guy right now should have been out of the game and also like KG, suspended the first foul where he hit KG with his elbow and then slapped him in the face with a backhand, and to make matters worse they call a technical foul on Garnett. This is crazy.

Do you think the Celtics complain too much?

Are you kidding me, there isn’€™t a team that doesn’€™t. Tell me about [Dwayne] Wade the prior series that we played. OK but he’€™s Wade so they’€™re not going to call technicals on him. When I was coaching, they had the great coach Red Holzman from the Knicks playing at the Boston Garden, walks down the middle of the floor and starts cussing the two referees. I got up and I’€™m waiting for him to call a technical foul on Red Holzman. He walks off the floor and as he’€™s walking off, he turns to me and says, ‘€œThese two guys are gutless, they’€™ll never call a technical foul on me.’€ And they never did call a technical foul on him.

Give us your best Joey Crawford story?

He’€™s as good as they get right now so I’€™m not going to go after Joey Crawford. He was carrying two guys last night in my opinion. The other guy, Tom Washington, I don’€™t know why they put him on the floor. He never blows his whistle.

Will they rescind one of [Kendrick] Perkins‘€™ technicals?

Well you might as well hand the title to the Orlando Magic if they don’€™t, because we will have no big guys potentially. I don’€™t think [Rasheed] Wallace is going to play with a bad back and Big Baby [Glen Davis] is out. We ought to get Eddie F. Rush to play center against Howard and let Howard rap him around.

Does Howard throw elbows just hoping that they land so players won’€™t get so close to him next time?

Well you know KG got suspended for that elbow, well [Howard] hit KG in the back of the head throwing his elbow. They called a foul and a day later, they reviewed the film and they called a flagrant foul on him. In addition to that, the Celtics in this particular game never got the possession of the ball again that they probably could have scored on, or at least had another opportunity to score. Doing this stuff of righting a wrong out in the league office, and believe me I’€™ve had experience with them doing things in the league office, when we played against the Phoenix Suns, I could spend another 15 minutes telling you about that.

If some combination of Perkins, Baby and Rasheed are unavailable tomorrow night to waste their fouls and try to defend Howard one-on-one, do Doc [Rivers] and Tom [Thibodeau] need to put in another scheme?

Unless you want Eddie Lacerte to end up playing, then yes. That’€™s part of the game. This guy Howard is throwing his weight around and establishing that he’€™s a tough guy and they let him do it.

What would that defensive change be?

Well the first thing I would try to do is forget about him and figure out a way to stop Jameer Nelson from coming off picks. You have to pick your poison because he’€™s the guy that gets into the defense and all of a sudden you have to plug the gaps. Perk for instance, steps up to try to deny the guy getting to the rim and when that happens, Howard gets turned loose all by himself four feet from the basket. So they have to solve the problem of Jameer Nelson and then you have half a shot of stopping Howard.

There is nobody better than you to compare and contrast Bob Cousy and Rajon Rondo. Can you compare and contrast their games?

When I first saw Rondo in a preseason game in his rookie year, in the first eight minutes, I turned to Mike Gorman and said, ‘€œThis guy’€™s got the potential to be in the Hall of Fame.’€ Then they didn’€™t play him anymore, the played [Sebastian] Telfair. The reason they played Telfair was because they were trying to showcase him for a trade. Rondo didn’€™t play an awful lot or as much as his talent warranted. When I watch this kid grow, he approaches the game exactly like Bob Cousy. He’€™s got a basketball brain, comparable to Cousy and Larry Bird, who were two steps ahead of everybody else as they were playing the game.

What Rondo does like Cousy, he loves to pass the ball. He’€™s not intent on scoring the ball like Oscar Robertson used to be. He tried to score and if he couldn’€™t score then he would pass the ball. Cousy wanted to pass the ball first and if he couldn’€™t find an open guy he would shoot the ball. Rondo is like Cousy in so many ways, same type of passes. Cousy was a better scorer, by the time he finished his career he was a terrific scorer. I think Rondo will ultimately become a terrific scorer too, but Rondo is fabulous on defense and Cousy like me, had trouble on defense.

Read More: Celtics, Dwight Howard, Ed F. Rush, Kendrick Perkins
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