LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Demarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Carmelo Anthony and the list continues. You know what all these players have in common? They all have been ejected from games this NBA season, and it isn’t even the halfway mark of the season.
Tension between the players and referees have been rising over the past few seasons. Star players feel like they have not been getting the favor of the whistle from the referees this season. This led to heated arguments between the players and the refs. As you know, the referee’s word is law.
NBA referees have been aggressive this year, though. Not aggressive with calling fouls but physically aggressive with the players. Referee, Courtney Kirkland, headbutted Warriors’ Guard, Shaun Livingston, after Livingston questioned a no-call made by Kirkland. Livingston was suspended for a game, while Kirkland was suspended for a week.
The NBA has gone to new heights to report missed calls in the final minutes of games with the Last Two Minute Report. For example, they announced that Kevin Durant fouled LeBron James on a drive in the final minutes of the Warriors vs. Cavaliers Christmas day game days after the game.
Draymond Green of the Warriors spoke out against the post-game reports. Green said that he does not like it because it is not like they can go back out and replay the game. Green stated that it makes it even more disappointing because a certain call could have swung the game and feels better off not knowing what the real call was. Draymond also was fined $25,000 for saying the league should replace all referees because of personal vendettas against the players.
Carmelo Anthony said lack of communication is what is leading to the quick trigger of the referees giving technical fouls to players. Anthony felt that the fast-moving pace of the game is making it difficult for players and referees to forge relationships, which leads to tension in the heat of the moment.
As the All-Star break approaches, we will see if the referees or the players let up on the other but for now, it is war between the two.
Written by Gerald Thomas III, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of Joe Skipper/Associated Press.
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