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.