Do the NBA referees hate OKC Thunder?
The NBA season has barely started and OKC Thunder are already feeling the heat from the referees.
When you talk about the best basketball league in the world, NBA tops it all and the players' contribution to it is pretty evident but what fans like us also expect is that we continue to see the smallest of the fouls/violations been called well by the referees. Barring a few close ones, the refs have done quite a good job over the years.
As the new season comes, with advancement in technologies, we continue to strengthen our faith in fair calls by the referees but the 2017-18 season has had plenty of other storylines that overshadowed the play calling.
The injuries to Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Lin or the fight during a practice between Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic or the surprisingly bad start for the Eastern Conference champions (Cleveland Cavaliers) or that Gregg Popovich surpassed Phil Jackson in the all time win list or Manu Ginobili playing his 1000th NBA game (with the best win %). But this season has caught the attention of even the casual fans because of some questionable calls by the referees, especially against the OKC Thunder.
Let us see a couple of those calls where everyone had the similar feeling like "really ?? "
Flagrant 1 on Westbrook :
As for the offensive foul called on Westbrook the only the loophole that we can find is that his hand hits the defender's face while Westbrook is still in the air. The play isn't over since he hasn't landed yet but Westbrook should get the benefit of the doubt because his actions are justifiable as he is trying to save himself with defender falling on him.
And we've seen what happens when players tweak their ankle or legs when they land on other player's foot ala The Kawhi Leonard injury from Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
My take on the play: Defensive foul
Flagrant 2 on Carmelo Anthony:
Maybe this was a flagrant foul on Carmelo Anthony, as the replays clearly showed him searching for contact during his drive to the basket. However, was it intentional? Understandably, the referees are trying to protect anything even close to a head injury for players but at the same time, they have to be aware of the consequences of their actions on the game.
Maybe this was a flagrant but flagrant 2? No way. Probably, Anthony was searching for the contact but he surely did not do it intentionally. They should have called it a Flagrant 1.
Whatever be the reason, we might see more of such calls from referees this season because the disappointment with officiating is at all time high right now!