The NBA playoffs can’t be complete without referees playing a part with controversial calls. The latest was between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat.
I’m not going to break that play down for you; we have the experts for that. But you know what? Reading about all the reactions to that play in social media made things, for a while at least, back to normal.
You know, that time when we’d catch the NBA playoffs live before we get to work (if we’re lucky) or try to steal moments from work to surreptitiously watch the game while the boss isn’t looking. And it was nice.
Now, with everyone mostly on work-from-home setups, you don’t need to sneak a couple of hours to watch the game, right?
This is why fans love and hate the NBA or basketball for that matter.
Some games are decided, not by the players themselves but by those who blow the whistle and these games will be talked about for years to come. Remember the LA vs. Sacramento Kings series in the early 2000s? That Kings team was supposedly destined to win the championships, but the referees decided otherwise. That is according to one side of the argument.
If the Heat goes on to win this one, I think the Bucks fans will list this as the latest of a string of NBA conspiracies that deprive a deserving team of a title. However, if the Bucks win this one, I wonder what the narrative will be.
I wonder too if this latest gaffe will be overshadowed by another gaffe, say in the conference finals or the NBA finals themselves?
There are always controversial calls, and you could say none is more controversial than one that still gets talked about more than two decades after it happened. I’m talking about the push by Michael Jordan on Bryon Russell in the 1998 finals. Air Jordan’s final play as a member of the vaunted Chicago Bulls.
Unlike in football, plays like that get analyzed ad infinitum by the media during slow days or even during anniversaries. In football, game-changing calls have lessened due to VAR. And controversial calls, while some do get mentioned, only spring to life in obscure lists like “10 calls that prove Uefa favors Barca.”
I guess it may be because while some foul calls may sometimes change a game in football, it almost always does in basketball, what with the ensuing free throws and all.
Anyway, I wonder how the Bucks will react in Game 3. Will fans be tallying calls to add to their “The NBA hates the Bucks list”?
I wonder what the next interesting twists in the playoffs will be. Will it be another one involving King James?