The result of Celtics-Sixers Monday was a foregone conclusion before tip-off.
For starters, teams playing on their home court that are down 3-0 in playoff series’ typically get the benefit of the doubt in terms of calls. On top of that, one of the referees for Game 4, Tony Brothers, has a history of officiating Celtics postseason losses. Boston has now dropped its last eight playoff contests he’s refereed.
In addition to Brothers, the NBA’s most infamous zebra, Scott Foster, was also on the call. Disgraced referee Tim Donaghy, who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for betting on games he officiated, placed 134 calls to Foster between October 2006 and April 2007, which is when Donaghy confessed to either betting on games or passing along information to gamblers. During that time, Donaghy called Foster more often than he phoned his bookie.
Early on, it was apparent the Sixers would receive the benefit of the whistles Monday. In the second quarter, the Celtics were called for 11 fouls. Philadelphia, meanwhile, was only charged with one. Jayson Tatum accumulated three fouls in the first half, and Jaylen Brown, who finished with five fouls, was whistled for a technical in the third quarter. Brad Stevens got one immediately afterwards.
It’s ridiculous to believe that any professional basketball team, never mind one coached by Stevens, would commit 10 more fouls than their opponent in a single quarter. Apparently, the officials were told to call the Celtics tightly. That is the only plausible explanation.
With LeBron James’ Cavaliers sweeping the Raptors Monday, the NBA will get another primetime audience for the Eastern Conference Finals. Conspiracy theorists have speculated for years the NBA attempts to extend lopsided series in order to lengthen the postseason slate. The results of Celtics-Sixers only further fuels that speculation.
While there are other explanations for the Celtics’ 103-92 loss –– they turned the ball over 15 times and were beaten on the boards –– the game was called in an uneven manner. Whether it’s nefarious or random, the Celtics were also playing against the officials Monday. It was easy to project how this one was going to end up.
Full article @ Absurdly lopsided officiating for Celtics-Sixers was easy to predict
Source: GreenStreet Blog