Refs Called out by Fans as Chris Paul Fouls out in Suns' Loss to Luka Doncic, Mavs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 8, 2022

DALLAS, TX - MAY 8: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks smiles during the game against the Phoenix Suns during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 8, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Chris Paul has made a career out of taking over games in crunch time, but that's pretty hard to do from the bench.

That's exactly where Paul was for most of the fourth quarter and extended stretches of Sunday's Game 4 in the Phoenix Suns' Western Conference Semifinal series against the Dallas Mavericks. The future Hall of Famer picked up four fouls in the first half alone and fouled out with approximately nine minutes remaining, which cleared the way for Dallas to clinch the 111-101 victory.

It was not lost on social media that Luka Doncic and other members of the Mavericks were using some of the same embellishment tactics that Paul has throughout his career, and the officials were also not immune to criticism:

Josiah Johnson @KingJosiah54

How refs doing CP3 in the playoffs <a href="https://t.co/OQh81v6wGv">pic.twitter.com/OQh81v6wGv</a>

Jemele Hill @jemelehill

If I’m Chris Paul, I’m placing a check on the table before I start my postgame press conference and I’m going IN on this officiating. That last call was flat-out terrible.

CJ McCollum @CJMcCollum

I know the feeling. Wish I could’ve gotten a couple fouls back among others things. Foul trouble make you feel helpless. Can’t even compete the same. . This series has potential to go 7

Jason Gallagher @jga41agher

When Luka decides to work the refs against CP <a href="https://t.co/I9UAh3H0Hc">pic.twitter.com/I9UAh3H0Hc</a>

Kirk Henderson @KirkSeriousFace

Did Luka... just out Chris Paul Chris Paul?

StatMuse @statmuse

Luka when he feels the slightest of contact <a href="https://t.co/IA2LulNXxF">pic.twitter.com/IA2LulNXxF</a>

J. Michael @ThisIsJMichael

As Luka just showed with these refs: Fall you get a call. No way in hell that contact from CP3 was enough to knock down a guy that much bigger than him. But NBA refs continue to incentivize this practice➡️ 🗑️

Half Court Hoops @HalfCourtHoops

Drawing fouls, I get it play the game and if they call it then do it. But it's just hard to watch.

Yaya Dubin @JADubin5

Just one time in this game I would like to see somebody take literally any contact and not fall down.

shannon sharpe @ShannonSharpe

Luka is my guy, but he’s flopping like a fish outta water. This is ridiculous. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SunsVsMavs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SunsVsMavs</a>

Haralabos Voulgaris @haralabob

This is embarrassing for the league

Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

The foul that was just called on McGee is something else I’d like to see removed from the game. McGee was in great position, Brunson just fell. Why is falling always rewarded?

Haralabos Voulgaris @haralabob

That may be the most egregious high leverage bad call I’ve seen in my life.

Ku @KuKhahil

Too often we’ve said the refs have been awful this playoff season

The series is now tied at two games apiece, although it wasn't only because of the whistles.

Doncic stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and four steals, while Dorian Finney-Smith provided critical secondary support with 24 points and eight boards behind 8-of-12 shooting from deep.

That Doncic received help from Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson and even Davis Bertans was key because the Mavericks lost the first two games on the road when he averaged 40 points a night and then turned things around at home with the supporting cast playing at a higher level.

Whether that supporting cast continues to play well as the series shifts back to Phoenix for Tuesday's Game 5 could determine who advances to the Western Conference Finals.