|Technically speaking, Celtics need to adjust||10.14.10 at 9:58 am ET|
Kevin Garnett picked up two technical fouls in a matter of seconds Wednesday night and was ejected before the end of the first half in the Celtics exhibition game with the Knicks. Moments earlier, Jermaine O’Neal picked up his own technical foul. According to O’Neal, he was trying to get a clarification on an offensive foul that had been whistled against him.
The Knicks’ Timofey Mozgov got one later for saying something in Russian.
The Celtics have racked up nine technicals in five preseason games under the NBA’s new harsher guidelines for issuing technicals. Among the areas of emphasis as spelled out by True Hoop:
‘¢ Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.
‘¢ Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.
‘¢ Running directly at an official to complain about a call.
‘¢ Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.
Additionally, the NBA has also doubled the amount of fines for getting T’s. It will now cost players and coaches $2,000 for each of the first five, $3,000 each for the next five, $4,000 each for 11-15 and $5,000 for any above 15 and players are also subject to a one-game suspension for every two over 15 technicals.
The NBA stopped short of calling this new stricter enforcement the Rasheed Wallace Rule, but they may have had him and Kendrick Perkins in mind. The Celtics have been the NBA’s most T’d up team two years running. (The number of technicals actually went down last season with Sheed).
2009-10: 107 (First)
2008-09: 117 (First)
2007-08: 97 (Second, Indiana was first)
The year before Garnett joined the Celtics, they ranked 22nd with 65 technicals. That’s not all on Garnett obviously, but with his addition the Celtics became an attacking, nasty, defensive-minded team. The T’s naturally followed from there.
The NBA tried to crackdown on players in 2006-07 and it didn’t take, so there is a natural inclination to believe that the new stricter guidelines won’t last this time either. There have been minor flare-ups around the league this preseason, but Wednesday night’s action may be the tipping point because it involved a player of Garnett’s stature and it happened in New York with the eyes of the basketball media watching.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski sliced and diced the league this morning.
It’s safe to assume that there will be much discussion about the new technical rules before the start of the regular season, but it’s hard to imagine the NBA will back down, at least not publicly. The league has been holding off the record seminars before preseason games with reporters to discuss the new rules, but issuing technicals is still, and always has been, a subjective matter.
To that end, Doc Rivers told reporters Wednesday night that his team would simply have to adjust. “Listen,” Rivers said. “The rules are the rules and we have to have more discipline.”
|Big Baby knows refs aren’t to blame for everything||06.09.10 at 4:15 am ET|
But Glen Davis is more than aware that the officials can’t be blame for all of the calls that went against them. Just a few key ones.
“We didn’t close out,” Davis said. ” I think at the beginning of the game, the first team established the tempo. I think the bench came out and really didn’t apply the pressure and that’s how we lost the lead.”
Indeed, the Celtics led, 12-5 out of the gate but thanks in very large part to the play of the Laker bench, which outscored Boston’s 16-8 in the first half, the visitors went on a 21-5 run to end the first quarter and never relinquished the lead again.
“I think a lot of the things in the first half, we just didn’t do right. I think we’ve got to be ready to play when we go in there. I blame it on myself, not establishing tempo, not bringing enough energy, turning the ball over, shooting bad shots. If I helped a little bit more in the first half, I think we would have done a better job.”
Davis was very aware of what was going on in the first half as the Celtics fell behind, 37-20, early in the second quarter.
“We had to dig our way back from [their] 17-point lead,” said Davis, who then had a very interesting take on the much-discussed and highly-criticized officials in this series.
“We did a great job of fighting back but then, calls didn’t go our way,” he said. “Referees aren’t perfect, they’re human, they’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully, they’ll see that some calls weren’t the right calls. But they did their best. I tip my hat to them. It’s tough in an environment like this to make the right call with thousands of people screaming at you, so it is what it is. I tip my hat to those guys.”
|Celts Beat Cavs||10.21.09 at 9:49 pm ET|
The first rule of preseason games in any sport is don’t read too much into preseason games. It is very unlikely, for example, that there will ever be a time in the regular season when J.R. Giddens is matched up one-on-one with LeBron James at the top of the key with no help coming.
That said, the Celtics final preseason game against the Cavaliers Wednesday night revealed one very valuable truth, which is that when it comes to Cleveland, the Celtics aren’t messing around. They sat Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Glen Davis and had Paul Pierce play just 13 minutes and yet they were still the aggressors from the opening tip in a 96-82 win at THE Ohio State University. (Click here for a recap).
Sure, there were some strange sights like Giddens covering LeBron and Lester Hudson stripping the ball from Shaquille O’Neal down on the block but you have to admire the intentisty with which the Celtics went after the Cavs on the road in the final exhibition game. There was even a fun little skirmish toward the end of the first half when Shelden Williams exchanged shoves with Daniel Gibson Mo Williams. (Note to the Celtics bench: Stay off the court during fights.)
The games between the Cavs and Celtics this season promise to be Events with klieg lights surrounding the building and national TV and media inside. To carry that kind of intensity and attention to detail into the final preseason game is a nice way to wrap it up.
But, let’s not read too much into it.
Other items of note for the Celtics:
The Marquis Daniels lovefest can not be stopped: The free agent swingman might be just a little sad to see the preseason end. You can make the argument that he was the Celtics most consistent player during the preseason and he capped it off with a phenomenal 17-point, five-assist performance in 30 minutes.
Daniels has been everything the Celtics could have hoped for (and he can rap too).
Lester Hudson continues to make a case: Let’s say this before going too far: It will be very difficult for Hudson to get playing time once the season starts. But if he continues to make the most of his chances he has a chance to carve out a niche on this team. Hudson scored eight points in 21 minutes, but most importantly he continued to play without fear or hesitancy.
The players and coaching staff like the 25-year-old rookie from Tennessee-Martin and he has allowed them to feel a little bit more secure about the lack of a “true” backup point guard.
Everyone will be very happy on Tuesday when the regular refs are back: The officials everyone know, and some hate, will undoubtedly make mistakes. They will undoubtedly make a call or two that will leave people scratching their heads or cursing a blue streak at their HD. But, there won’t be many calls that will be influenced by people yelling from the bench and there won’t be too many calls where everyone with a whistle looks at each other and tries to figure out what just happened.
Both those things happened last night and far too often during the preseason. Love them, hate them or tolerate them because they’re generally the best the game has to offer the NBA needs to have the best possible officials on the court and that is the best outcome of all of this preseason.
|Refs Coming Back?||at 10:11 am ET|
Several reports Tuesday indicated that the league and the referee’s union are closing in on a labor agreement that would return the regular refs to work and prevent the so so-called “replacement refs” (read: scabs) from working regular season games.
People are of two minds on this one. The casual NBA fan will shrug his or her shoulders and wonder why anyone would care about the refs since they’re all horrible anyway. The hardcore NBA fan, on the other hand, is smiling a little bit today because the thought of a 60-foul, 3+ hour game is no good for anyone.
Throughout the preseason it became rather obvious that the replacements weren’t up the speed of the NBA game, which led to a number of ticky tack calls after the original foul. Despite a directive from the league to not talk about the refs, complaints had begun to surface.
Charlotte coach Larry Brown was fined $60,000, while Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was fined $25K for saying the refs favored Magic center Dwight Howard. Not surprisingly, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t like the insinuation. Plus he had already been docked $35,000 for criticizing the refs in a separate incident. (Perhaps Hollins didn’t get the memo that the Magic don’t get any respect from the media, the league or the zebras).
The final straw may have been an exhibition game between the Knicks and Maccabi Tel Aviv, in which Maccabi coach Pini Gershon was ejected and refused to leave the court for an extended time. According to a report by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Maccabi had paid $500,000 to play the game and was using the money from the game to benefit an Israeli orphanage.
International incidents aside, the return of the regular refs in time for the start of the regular season is good news for the league, the players and believe it or not, the fans as well.
|NBA to consider replacement refs?||09.09.09 at 9:52 am ET|
ESPN’s Mark Stein reported last night that talks between then NBA and the referees have broken down regarding a new contract and that the league is considering using replacement (which is a nicer way of saying ‘scab’) refs. The current agreement expired Sept. 1.
There is ample precedence for such a move. The NBA went this route in 1995… and it was an unmitigated disaster. (Interestingly Bill Kennedy, Doc Rivers‘ bete noir last season, came into the league in 1995.) The league also did so in 1983 and 1977.
Not surprisingly the issues at the bargaining table come down to money. The NBA wants givebacks from the refs and the refs don’t want to give. Of course this may all be posturing.
As everyone who follows the NBA knows, the officials operate under almost as much scrutiny as star players and coaches. From Tim Donaghy’s incarceration on gambling charges to Joey Crawford’s meltdown via Tim Duncan to Rivers and Kennedy and many more, the officials have not been one of David Stern’s favorite topics over the last few years. So, perhaps the league is trying to rattle their cage with the threat, and it’s not like the refs have a deep reservoir of good will to draw from in their time of need.
But this is dangerous territory for the NBA, because while the league may be all too willing to throw out the idea that anybody can come in off the street and work an NBA game, history has shown that it’s just not true. Check out this Steve Kelley column in the Seattle Times circa 1995 which features this quote from Rivers, then with the Spurs:
“This is what’s going to happen,” Rivers said. “The calls are going to get so bad, guys are going to get upset. There’s going to be a bad fight. Or somebody’s going to get mad and undercut somebody else.
“They’re going to be injured, career-wise, and then the league’s going to get sued. That’s what’s going to happen if this continues.
|Ref assignments for Game 6||04.30.09 at 3:45 pm ET|
As part of the NBA’s new transparency in the wake of the Tim Donaghy fiasco, the league has been posting referee assignments in advance of games. Here’s the crew for Game 6 in Chicago:
Crawford is known throughout the league as the official you most want to have if you’re on the road in a big game, although San Antonio would probably disagree. (He also once threatened to give me a technical in a media 3-0n-3 tournament but that’s neither here nor there. I’m telling you, it was a charge.)