Bucks GM Horst: NBA Officiating Must Improve; Win vs. Celtics 'Wasn’t a Quality' Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 2022

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 22: Jon Horst, general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, speaks to the media before the game against the Phoenix Suns on January 22, 2018 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst called for the standard of NBA officiating to improve following Milwaukee's 103-101 Game 3 victory over the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA playoffs.

Horst told The Athletic's Eric Nehm he sympathizes with referees because of the difficulty of their job but that he believes there's a clear problem:

"I mean this sincerely: I do respect that, at the end of the day, it is a hard job, right? I couldn't do their job. You couldn't do their job. Officiating is hard, just like playing is hard and coaching is hard, and I think we all have a standard of trying to get better and improve. And at the end of the day, that's what stood out to me. We have to improve. That wasn't a quality playoff basketball game, and I think officiating played a role in that. [...]
"When you start looking at the numbers, it's just, it's pretty outrageous. And I think our players and Boston's players just deserve to have it be addressed and have it be looked at and to just have some improvement."

The Bucks attempted half (17) as many free throws as the Celtics (34), who had a 14-point edge in scoring at the charity stripe. Giannis Antetokounmpo alluded to his frustration with the officiating but quipped he didn't want to incur a fine because he's "got to pay for diapers":

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

“How much does it cost if I say something, a comment about the refs? Is it $20,000? … I should not do it. I’ll save my money. I’ve got to pay for diapers.”<br><br>Giannis on not getting foul calls after Game 3 😂 <a href="https://t.co/2VT0NWuB4l">pic.twitter.com/2VT0NWuB4l</a>

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was more blunt, telling reporters how he got the impression league officials "want guys to flop more" because that's the easiest way to draw a foul.

Complaining about the referees is nothing new, especially in the playoffs. Coaches and players always look to gain an edge, including attempting to influence how games are officiated.

For Horst, expecting a systemic change to which he seemingly referenced might be unrealistic in the space of a postseason series.