The Toronto Raptors aren't the only ones questioning the officiating in their first-round matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd let out his own frustrations after Game 5 translated into a 3-2 series deficit against the Raptors.
He took the Game 5 officials to task in a conference call on Thursday:
Jason Kidd said the lack of calls and free throws for Joe Johnson were "mind-boggling."— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) May 1, 2014
"If flopping is the way to go, maybe we should play that game." -- Kidd— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) May 1, 2014
Kidd came in with agenda to get more respect from referees for Joe Johnson: "Joe is a strong individual. Unfortunately, he doesn't flop."— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) May 1, 2014
We certainly can't accuse Kidd of ambiguity.
Update: Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET
The NBA has fined Kidd $25,000 for his public critique of the officials, per B/R's Jared Zwerling. Kidd should have known this was coming.
Jason Kidd has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Rod Thorn.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) May 2, 2014
--End of update--
Litigating calls after the fact will always be a matter of interpretation, but Kidd's point has to be somewhat well taken. Joe Johnson only went to the line once despite 23 field-goal attempts. That much is irrefutable. Whether he deserved more love from the referees probably depends on which side you're rooting for.
So how frustrated is Kidd? The point may have had less to do with dismay and more to do with strategy. The New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy explains:
By planting a seed through the media, Kidd is following the lead of the Raptors, who whined similarly after Game 1 - although not as overtly as Kidd. Clearly these are desperate times for the typically reserved coach, who saved his most piercing public remarks of the season the day before an elimination game at home, with the Nets facing a 3-2 series deficit. The Raptors have two players - Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan - who combined for 23 free throws on Wednesday, and who are good at selling contact.
In other words, this may be posturing—an attempt to swing public opinion in the Nets' favor and perhaps a few Game 6 calls along with it.
Will it work?
That's doubtful, at least in any concrete sense. But it can't hurt to put something in the backs of officials' minds. At the very least, they'll know fans will be on the lookout for questionable calls (or a lack of calls in the first place). Perhaps it will have some marginal, subconscious effect. That's the most you can really hope for in cases like this.
Game 6 between the two teams will be on Friday in Brooklyn at 7:00 p.m. ET. Regardless of the officiating, expect a tightly contested battle. The Raptors got off to a huge lead in Game 5 only to watch Brooklyn storm back within striking distance in the fourth quarter. Whether it's a game of runs or an evenly matched affair, we should expect a good one.