Tag Archives: Steph Curry

Contentious on the Court: Referees vs Players

It’s no secret that the relationship between the NBA players and the referees this season has been contentious. Just recently, Kevin Durant was ejected in his team’s win over the Knicks. He initially accused the refs of ‘picking on him’, but after having time to cool off he apologized for his remarks. But really, this is nothing compared to what’s been happening all season.

Technicals and Ejections for Everyone!curry

So far this season, we have witnessed some new faces become a part of the technical foul and ejection club. An emotional Steph Curry was ejected earlier this season for throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of an official. Durant has also been ejected a number of times this season after having some outbursts over foul calls. Even LeBron James has been ejected this season for ‘charging’ at an official. Russell Westbrook was recently ejected for arguing a no call when he clearly got fouled. I know this isn’t all of them, but they are notable to say the least. I’m sure Draymond Green and Boogie Cousins are also shocked, considering they are usually the ones who lead the league in technicals and ejections. Though, Green has expressed his frustration with the refs, saying basically they should all be fired. He isn’t the only one; many of the players have been vocal about the refs, but out of respect for Commissioner Silver they have tried to rein it in.

Tension with Refs Leads to Tension with Each other?clips rocks feud

All of this pent up tension with the refs has to be released somehow right? Well, maybe that’s what we can attribute all of the altercations among the players to. There has been a lot of chippy play (and pettiness) going on around the league, leading some ‘fights’. NBA players don’t really fight; they just exchange words and get in each other’s face, except for Aaron Afflalo of course. Anyways, it seems most of that pent up emotion was released on MLK Day. In just about every game someone had an issue, but the most memorable was the Rockets-Clippers showdown. Only two people out of the possible five that could have been punished were suspended. The whole situation makes you wonder: do players take it out on one another because they can’t fully express themselves with the refs? I think that may be the case.

Building Rapport

There is obviously no type of trust or understanding amongst the new refs and the players. The players no longer have that group of refs that they’ve built relationships with over the years, which means they can no longer get by on minor violations, like travelling or a double dribble. These new refs call EVERYTHING, but they sometimes miss the big ones, and that’s where the frustration comes from. Hopefully this meeting at the All-Star break will result in some positive changes from both parties.

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Rising to the Top of the League

Remember all of those people who said the Celtics couldn’t beat the Warriors because they just weren’t good enough? That their 13-game winning streak didn’t mean much because their opponents were easy (a paraphrasing of Charles Barkley’s words during the pregame show on TNT)? Well, they were obviously wrong! The Cs stunned the defending champions, defeating them 92-88. Yes, you read that right. The Cs held the #1 offense in the league to 88 points, the lowest the team has ever scored when their ‘Big 4’ start (Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green).
The Warriors blew a 17 point lead and it is the second time this year that they’ve blown a lead that big. They fell apart in the second half and made a lot of mistakes. But let’s give credit to the Celtic’s defense that forced those mistakes, namely due to Marcus Smarts’ defensive play in the third quarter. Golden State was held to 40.2% shooting and 31.3% from three. Now, here comes to funny part: the Celtics only shot 32.9% from the floor and 21.9% from three… and they still won! They should definitely be proud of themselves for pulling out the 14th straight win, but the Warriors have to be absolutely embarrassed.
Jaylen Brown, who played after the death of a very close friend, provided the inspiration his team needed to keep fighting. He was the difference maker in the third, hitting a few clutch threes to help the Cs go on a 19-0 run and eventually finishing with 22 points (along with a swift steal off of Steph Curry and monster dunk early on). Kyrie Irving ditched his mask late in the game and finished with 16 points, making some clutch free throws late. And don’t forget Horford (18 points), Morris (12 points) and Tatum (12 points) who also came through for the team after only having 12 points off of the bench. Two of Tatum’s 12 points were extremely significant, coming with just seconds left on the clock to seal the deal and put the Cs up by four.
The ‘Big4’ looked pretty small if you ask me. Steph Curry was held to 9 points, shooting 3-14 overall and 2-9 from three. Klay Thompson hit two late three’s that put the Warriors up late, but it wasn’t enough. Draymond Green only had 11 points (and surprisingly no technicals). Kevin Durant’s 24-point performance was the only exception, but didn’t matter this time due to below average offensive production by his teammates. Being the #1 offense didn’t help last night, and there will be other times when it won’t. You can’t just hope to outscore opponents (the Warriors have given up 100+ points in 12 of their 15 games). At some point, defense has to become a priority as well, and Brad Stevens’ Celtics have the perfect formula. Who’s the best team in the league now?