After playoff games in select situations, the NBA allows one pool reporter access to the crew chief of a playoff contest to answer questions about specific calls or play. For today, an AP reporter was selected to speak with Danny Crawford about the controversial calls on Pierce in the 4th quarter of the contest.
Here’s a portion of the transcript, via CBS Sports:
Q: What did Paul Pierce do to merit the 2nd technical with 7:00 remaining?
Crawford: “It’s what we call a verbal taunt. He directed profanity towards (Dwyane) Wade. And in the rulebook, that is a verbal taunt. And it just so happened to be Pierce’s second technical foul.”
Q: What did Pierce do for the technical after the (James) Jones foul with 7:59 left?
Crawford: “The first technical foul, it was contact during a dead ball. He approached Jones and got right in his face. There wasn’t a head-butt, but he got right into his face after a hard foul.”
Q: Why did Jones merit a technical with 7:59 remaining?
Crawford: “We just looked at that. It was Jones’ hard foul that pretty much precipitated Paul doing what he did. The technical foul on Jones will probably be looked at. He didn’t do as much as we thought. We thought he got in and became aggressive or initiated. But after looking at video, that’s something that we’ll have to look at again.”
Q: And was Wade’s technical for the foul, verbal taunting or otherwise?
Crawford: “He actually walked toward Pierce and that’s why Wade received his, walking toward Pierce and then Pierce’s reaction to that.”
A few quick thoughts on this and reaction from Doc
First the good news. After reviewing the play, the referees confirmed that Pierce’s facial contact with Jones was NOT a headbutt. Not that there was a major worry that The Truth could be subject to a suspension for Game 2 after the way this debacle was handled, but it still could have been a subject of contention moving forward. After this explanation, it looks to be a non-issue.
Now, as for everything else, this really was just sad. Much like Game 5 of the Orlando series with Kendrick Perkins (also tossed after two questionable tech’s), the sequence shows just a lack of awareness by the officials, specifically Malloy in dealing with Pierce. In this situation, you have to be aware that Pierce has a tech. HAVE TO. Anything short of a full-on physical confrontation has to be dealt with carefully by the referees for a star player, on either team for that matter. Exchanging a few four-letter words? Please.
It would be one thing if the refs were trying to establish control early in the game, and prevent things from getting out of hand. I still wouldn’t like a double T then on both Wade and Pierce but I’d at least understand it. This wasn’t that however.
Instead, this was the fourth quarter of the most anticipated playoff series of the year, and thanks to a quick trigger by Malloy, the officials will be a big part of the story for the next 2 days. And to be honest, no one wants that.
I’ll stop there, instead of getting started on the Jermaine O’Neal “flagrant” foul which resulted in the five-point swing for Miami at a critical juncture in the third quarter.
Overall, the Celtics had a lot of problems today and were going to lose this contest either way in all likelihood. Unfortunately a couple tough calls by the officials made sure of that reality.
Here’s Doc on both the fouls via Boston.com
“I thought [the foul by] James Jones was a clear fragrant,” said Rivers. “He just went to the head and grabbed. I thought Dwyane Wade was a definite flagrant. I thought both were flagrants. They were not called. We reacted, and that’s exactly what they wanted us to do. So we have to be better than that.”
Rivers said he expected Miami’s physical play.
“You knew it was coming,” said Rivers. “All they did was talk about being physical. That wasn’t physical. It wasn’t physical. That was chippy.”