After two debatable calls (or non-calls) in the final minute of game one, the referees are on center stage going into tonight’s game two. Around here, the talk has been of the Celtics’ second half defense, Doc Rivers’ play calls and the shutting down of Carmelo Anthony, but at various other places around the internet that may or may not reside in the 212 area code, you’ll find incessant talk of David Stern’s complicity in some grand scandal, of how the Celtics get away with murder in the name of tough defense, of how the Knicks were screwed.
I hate this kind of thing.
I hate listening to Tommy Heinsohn invent injustices against the Celtics for 2.5 hours, 82 times a year. I hate listening to NBA conspiracy theorists (whose views typically hold up to scrutiny about as well as any other conspiracy theorist you’ll encounter in life). And I hate the selective nature of these discussions. A fan of team ‘x’ is predisposed to obsess over calls that don’t go their way while paying little mind to the calls that opposing team ‘y’ might have problems with. We often can’t agree on this stuff even with the benefit of multiple angles of slow motion replays.
Anthony fouled Pierce trying to get position in the post. Or he didn’t. Kevin Garnett tripped Toney Douglas to clear a path for Ray Allen to launch the game-winning shot. Or he didn’t. Both of these calls should be made in the closing moments of a playoff game. Or they shouldn’t.
I have opinions on all this stuff, none of which I am going to share here. But I might also have opinions on two other random plays, which, although they took place earlier in the game, and in doing so avoided scrutiny, just may have accounted for inappropriate changes of possession.
You really think the Celtics couldn’t make a case for a missed call or two earlier in the game? Or even on the inbound of the Allen game-winner when Melo bumped Pierce in a play that bore an eerie resemblance to a blocking foul?
Of course they could have.
And then the Knicks could find another couple bad calls after that. Or what they perceived to be bad calls.
On and on, around and around.
The damn discussion never ends.
Which is why tonight, I hope it doesn’t even begin.