The Call That Changed The Celtics-Hawks Game

Let me tell you this, last night’s Hawks and Celtics game was an amazing game to watch. The game had everything an NBA fan could ask for in a regular season match up and more. We had two legitimate playoff contenders, a brewing rivalry, and more intensity than anyone would expect in a regular season game.

It did not take long for the tempers to escalate in this game. With three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Hawks center Zaza Pachulia picked up a flagrant foul when he made a dirty play on Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. The call was clearly waranted and from what I heard last night most Hawks fans agree.

Anyways, the game continued to intensify as the fourth quarter grew near. Both teams were playing their heart out and both knew they had something to prove. The Celtics wanted to prove they could beat the Hawks, and the Hawks still know they need to prove they are an elite team in the east.

With 6:16 left in the third quarter the Boston Celtics held a ten point lead and seemed to be in complete control of the game. That was until Bennett Salvatore and his crew, maybe with a hint from David Stern, decided that they wanted a closer game between these two teams.

Before I go into more details about the call I want to let it be known that I am not the person to harp on the referees and blame every single Celtics loss on bad calls; however, I am a person that can point out the obvious and notice a bad call or horrible refereeing when I see it.

So as I was saying, with 6:16 left in the third quarter the Celtics held a comfortable lead of ten points. That was until Marvin Williams drove to the hope on a fast break and got fouled by Glen Davis. Davis seemed to foul him in the general vicinity of his neck; however, it was very clear that Davis was going for the ball and had no intention of causing harm to Williams. Salvatore and his crew thought otherwise and nailed Davis with a flagrant foul.

Doc Rivers was completely annoyed by the call and could not hold back his anger in a time like this, Rivers was hit with two technical fouls and was tossed from the game. Along with that assistant coach Armond Hill also picked up a technical. Jamal Crawford was sent to the line for three free throws, followed by Marvin Williams who had two, and then the Hawks received the ball.

I don’t think anyone can argue that this one moment at the 6:16 mark did not completly change the pace of the game. The Celtics were without their head coach, and quite honestly Tom Thibodeau looked lost out there taking over the head coaching duties. Thibodeau did not sub once in his 18 minutes of coaching, and the only offense the Celtics were running was the “get the ball to Paul Pierce and get the hell out of the way” offense.

Now if the original call against Glen Davis was warranted this would be a totally different story, but in most open-minded fans opinion the call was not. There will always be the people that say that Doc Rivers and his staff should have kept their cool. In all reality if you were the coach of any team, in a close and very meaningful game like that, you would have reacted the same exact way to an atrocious call like that.

The way NBA refs control games these days is ridiculous and an embarrassment to the sport of basketball, and the National Basketball Association. It is really hard to believe three guys running around with zebra shirts (well grey shirts now) and black pants can have such an impact on a game watched by millions.

  • Jp

    My only problem with everyone blaming this call (and I did not see the play) is that Doc didn’t have to get the techs. hill didn’t have to get his tech. Had they not taken a page out of ‘Sheed’s book, then it would have been 1 of two free throws and another possession for the Hawks. I don’t doubt the refs blew a call, but they didn’t make the Celtics coaching staff react the way they did.

  • Brian

    An absolute abomination of a call. After watching the replay… Davis helped him down and willed to help him up. Really did change the game and it’s a shame.. but Doc was right in fighting for his guys. They’ll bounce it back.

    BG- The Sixer Sense

  • KWillis

    I agree with JP, whether the call was right or wrong you have to play through those things. I have no problem with Doc getting tossed because he is protecting his player, but there was no excuse for the T that Hill got. Also after Doc was ejected they showed very little interest in getting the team back focused. I mean they are the Celtics and they are a veteran team but if they can’t straighten it out themselves you have to take a time out don’t you?

  • Bpaul

    Well my point is that the Celtics had complete control over the game until this moment. Like I said Doc should have kept his cool BUT (and that’s a big but) I think any coach in the league would have responded the same way. Salvatore is one of the worst refs in the league. All he wants his to be looked at and guess what? He got his way here, all of Celtics nation is eying him down right now.

  • StayGREEN

    Thank you for being the only blogger who didn’t say “the hawks have our number”.

    The Celtics played the better game, and the refs were CLEARLY favoring the hawks. We should have won by 20 but the crooked refs gave this one to the hawks.

  • greenbanner18

    Many things changed this game and it started right here with this call- The 2nd thing that changed the game was Joe Johnson who couldn’t miss in the 4th.

    Another question is- Doc was obviously furious- but was that enough to get tossed? Or did the refs just get technical happy like they tend to get at times?

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  • Brian

    I’m not going back on my statement… this call changed the game… plain and simple! Celtics lost this one on account of bad judgment and you’ll have that. No if ands, or buts about it. But Hawks in my eyes are a legit team with a lot of youth to go around. Enough to beat the Celts without KG??? Not so much.. Bc two Hall of Fame players still played in the game. That call was difference maker… IDC who saw or who didn’t.

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