Celtics-Raptors: NBA Referees Win One for Boston

Stephen Brotherston@@ProBballNBAAnalyst IJanuary 3, 2010

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts during the game against the Orlando Magic on November 20, 2009 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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No one can say the Boston Celtics didn’t play hard.  They did!

But some blatantly bad calls helped turn Tony Allen from an average backup guard who fouls at a rate of over six per 48 minutes, into an all-star caliber defender that couldn’t be beat.

And one of the roughest, most aggressive teams in the NBA was only hit with 21 personal fouls, while the light-hitting Raptors were charged with 27.

But one would not have known this from the response of the coaching staffs.

On every foul called against the Celtics, Doc Rivers was up in arms screaming at the referees. On every foul call against the Raptors, there was silence from the Raptors bench.

The most obvious and blatant moves by the referees to ensure the Raptors couldn’t make a run in this game, came in the third quarter.

Jarrett Jack, who was struggling against an aggressive Tony Allen, was called for an offensive foul as he drove for the layup and attempted his shot. Tony Allen leaped into the air in front of Jack, swiping down at Jack’s arms, and the “totally objective” call was that Jack fouled Allen.

From a fan’s standpoint, that wasn’t even the worst of it. Jay Triano sat on the bench and ignored the abuse his player just took, and the Raptors broadcast crew just accepted the call without question!

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If ever there was a call that a coach should want to be tossed for abusing officials, this was it! But wait, it gets worse!

The very next offensive sequence, DeMar DeRozan does exactly what any self-respecting player does after a totally blown call by the referees at the offensive end.  DeRozan drives through the heart of the Celtics defense, getting bumped and swiped at through the middle of the key.

The whistle blows. One might think the coaches and players are anticipating the normal call to respect such offensive daring, but no, the referees signal traveling!

Traveling? With Celtics arms hitting DeRozan from both sides, the referees did signal something. They signaled that any attempt by the Raptors to take over this game, would be met with resistance; from them!

Again, fans are left with a picture of a coach doing and saying nothing. Again, fans are left with a Raptors broadcast crew that has already accepted the Raptors fate on this night.

Maybe the lack of outrage is just a visitors' coaching staff accepting the fact that in Boston, the referees are going to give the home team a huge home court advantage.  So, there is no point in complaining?

Refereeing in the NBA comes under regular scrutiny for team bias and all-star favoritism,  and it is deserving of such negative reviews.

But in this game, the NBA officials took more liberties than any self respecting coach should have been able to tolerate.

For the Raptors to have any chance at winning this game, Jay Triano should have made sure the referees got at least as much of an earful from him as they did from Doc Rivers.

This was one game the Raptors head coach should have finished watching from the dressing room after getting his money’s worth. It’s a part of his job!