Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Doc Rivers and his staff have three problems with the controversial jump ball call on Paul Pierce Friday night with nine seconds left in regulation, and the Celtics leading by two points in what evolved as an overtime loss to Chicago.
In asking the league to review the play, the team is claiming: A) Pierce was fouled; B) Rajon Rondo could be seen directly in front of referee Marc Davis calling for a timeout before referee Sean Corbin signalled for a jump ball; and C) A much-smaller Jimmy Butler was the player who actually tied up Pierce, and not Joakim Noah, who eventually won the tap against Pierce.
Not that there will be any rewards, beyond giving the league a heads up.
“It’s to make me feel better,” said Rivers.
Lest anyone forget, it was Rondo’s bump of Davis in Game 1 of last year’s first round in Atlanta that earned the Celtics point guard a one-game suspension.
Asked if Rondo’s history with officials is hurting him, Rivers said, “I don’t know. That’s your call. Rondo played pretty well last night, so I don’t think he was affected.”
Rivers said he would never think of asking to have an official banned from calling Celtics games, simply because the wrong result would probably come out of it.
“You can request, but that ain’t ever gonna happen. Knowing commissioner (David) Stern, that means you’ll get (the targeted official) the next game,” said Rivers. “But I think (the officials) you’re talking about have run-ins with other guys, too. I can tell you the Chicago people probably felt the same way going into this game. I hope there’s never any grudges, but it is a human game. I just think our league is better than that.”
The officiating crew’s overall handling of the jump-ball call, though, has drawn serious questions from Rivers and his staff, starting with the belief Pierce was fouled by Butler.
“He was fouled, no doubt about that,” said Rivers. “But if you watch it, Rondo absolutely called a timeout, and he was an inch away from Marc Davis’ face and did it twice, and then you can see Sean Corbin’s hand go up for a jump ball, so it was clear that, in my opinion he was fouled, No. 1, and No. 2 we got the timeout and it wasn’t called.”
What’s that old saying by former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly that Doc Rivers likes to use with his own team? “Get past mad.” Clearly, Doc and his team are still rightfully angry at the end of regulation from Friday night’s game, also known as “Jump Ball Gate.” No doubt it was a rough call in which ultimately contributed to a brutal loss. As fans, we all were (and probably still are) fuming and upset from that loss. But in a 1-point loss, it’s difficult to pin it on a single call, no matter how bad it is. Just like last year during Game 2’s kick-to-the-balls loss at Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, the loss can’t simply be attributed to that lone call that was missed when Wade whacked Rondo across the face on a lay-up. However, in Mark Murphy’s piece, he does raise a more concerning point.
Rondo’s incident with official Marc Davis during Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks last year is well known. As is the shady officiating Davis did during a Celtics-Hawks game just a few weeks earlier last season. Referees are human and they could hold a grudge against a player and/or team. Like Doc, I’d like to believe officials are better than that but they are human.
Look, Marc Davis and any other official can clearly blow a call here and there. Just as the Celtics can clearly fail to box out Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah in the first half, allowing them to easily grab an offensive rebound for easy put-backs. Just as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett can easily miss on several of shots they usually make, including sub-par free throw shooting. I know it’s not as fun to blame losses on things like that and it’s easy to look at Marc Davis (or any ref) like they’re the biggest reason. The point is you can go back at so many plays throughout a 1-point loss and say “if only this happened instead.”
As far as Rondo’s reputation hurting him, sure there could be something to that as well, and Doc has said that he has a long time to improve that. He also did get nine free throw attempts on Friday night, more than his last seven games combined. In fact, he got a call his way when he drove to the basket against Nate Robinson, lunged into Nate and drew the foul. If you recall, this is the same play he tried on Josh Smith but instead got whistled for the offensive foul, then “bumped” Rodney Mott. It’s frustrating to see such a tight game have a controversial call at the end but it’s not exactly the sole reason what decides the win/loss. But it’s usually what always sticks out the most.
The rest of the links:
Boston Herald – Ex-Celtic is still Green (Sunday Notes)