At this point, it’s something we all have to get accustomed to already as the fact of the matter is that basketball is officiated by mere human beings and it will be almost impossible to have it perfectly officiated. Nevertheless, it particularly stings deeper when the bad calls occur in the playoffs as the game has more weight to it compared to usual.
We got a demonstration of just how bad calls could actually be during Game 1 of the series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers. In the game, Kristaps Porzingis received two technical fouls and the second one ultimately got him ejected from the game.
In the third quarter, Luka Doncic and Marcus Morris Sr. got into an altercation after play was stopped. Kristaps Porzingis came over to defend his teammate and some light shoving ensued. He went on to receive the controversial technical foul and the rest was history. The NBA world was in agreement that the decision was uncalled for. Personalities such as LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, and Patrick Mahomes all expressed their disdain via Twitter.
Therefore, the question isn’t deciding if it was a bad call, but rather, where does Kristaps Porzingis’ Game 1 ejection vs. Clippers actually rank among the worst calls in NBA playoff history.
Was it as bad as Kings-Lakers Game 6 in the 2002 Western Conference Finals? Probably not. After all, the Kristaps Porzingis ejection didn’t directly affect the outcome of the game unlike Kobe Bryant’s elbow to Mike Bibby in the last few seconds which sealed the fate of the Kings.
On the other hand, it wasn’t as outrightly stupid as the call during the Portland Trail Blazers-Phoenix Suns game in the first round of the 2010 Western Conference Playoffs, when Steve Nash was not fouled. Referee Joey Crawford called a foul on Marcus Camby despite the fact that he was 15 feet away from Nash. To put things into perspective, the Kristaps Porzingis ejection ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack as it was disgustingly soft for a technical foul, but it was also not as crucial as a game-altering play in the last few seconds.
Nevertheless, anyone can make the argument that the ejection tipped the momentum towards the Clippers from that point onward as the Mavericks lost their lead and went on to lose the game as well without the presence of Porzingis. After all, he notched 14 points and 6 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. If given more time on the floor, he could have definitely made an impact moving forward and could have put the Mavericks in a better position to come out on top. Thus, it stings to ponder on what could have been a completely different result in Game 1 if only the officiating was of better quality. Now, the Mavericks are down 3-2 facing the brink of elimination which entails that they will need every bit of help to keep their playoff hopes alive. One thing is certain, they definitely cant’t count on the referees.