Watching the parade of personal and technical fouls that characterized Monday night’s Wolves-Clips matchup got me thinking about one of my favorite Elliott Smith covers, “Jealous Guy.” At the beginning, Smith asks the crowd, in his uniquely timid way, if there are any whistlers in the crowd. “This is your big chance,” he says, “there’s a whistle solo.” Which is basically what a Clippers game is: a chance for referees to strut their stuff as whistle soloists, because hot damn, the games take forever and their high-pitched “tweeeeet” sounds are constantly in the background. Continue Reading…
Archives For technical fouls
There are lots of ways to lose to the San Antonio Spurs. You know this already. Tim Duncan might hit a buzzer-beating three. Manu Ginobili might perform a series of increasingly uncanny bodily contortions, each ending with a basketball feathering through the hoop. That legendary defense might incrementally, unobtrusively increase its constriction, leaving you, at games end, suddenly suffocated and dry. The Wolves are getting to know these facts intimately: you might be called for a phantom three-point foul; you might be massively out-coached in the games waning moments. The list is endless.
But in all their years of monolithic fourth-quarter domination, not to mention relentless, bug-eyed ref-baiting, I swear I have never seen the Spurs draw five technical fouls on their opponent in the span of 30 seconds. But this happened on Tuesday night, in a fairly crucial moment of the third quarter, the Wolves having just pared a double-digit Spurs lead to six. And the best part: through some trick of alchemy or cold fusion or psychedelic imagination, two of those techs were called on two different Timberwolves simultaneously. By the same official! It was as if every subatomic particle of Stern-ian behavior modification became concentrated in Ken Mauer’s whistle in one decisive moment. At this very instant, somewhere in between Kurt Rambis being ejected for arguing said act of visionary officiating and Kevin Love getting t’d for slapping his hands together, this game entered an altered zone. Ginobili hit four consecutive free-throws. Bill Laimbeer was suddenly an NBA head-coach. The smiling, fired up Wolves embarked on a run of brazen, occasionally inspired play.
The Wolves’ 98-86 loss to the Pacers on Wednesday night was seen by almost nobody. Nonetheless, we know that the Wolves seemed to play solid defense but shot only 32% from the floor. Kurt Rambis wrote it off to “fatigue.” That’s gonna happen, I guess. All I know is I’m glad I didn’t have to see Kevin Love brick a dunk. Here’s some other stuff:
- I’m surprised that this one was committed to video by anyone anywhere, but highlights do exist. They’re right here.
- And a recap of the whole affair is here. After getting lit up for 30 points by Danny Granger, Michael Beasley gave us a taste of his defensive philosophy (via the Strib):
I love the challenge, I don’t like the matchup. I mean, a perfect world for me is to play all offense and no defense, but that’s every player. I love the head-to-head matchup. I’m a competitor, that’s what I do.
Really Mike? “Every player”?
- Before his team fell to the Wolves on Tuesday, Denver coach George Karl opined that trading Al Jefferson was probably a good move (this from Ray Richardson and the Pioneer Press): “Most of us felt they got in the way of each other last year,” said Karl, “It will be interesting to see this season. Love’s a great offensive rebounder. He’s hard to keep off the boards.” Not exactly earth-shattering but good to hear nonetheless.
- During the past week, our own Zach Harper has been tearing it up on the regular over at Truehoop. He’s had nice pieces on Andrea Bargnani and draft busts, Demarcus Cousins and the shaky wisdom of building a championship contender around a transcendent point guard (Wolves fans take note). But what caught my eye, particularly after Luke Ridnour was called for a technical on Tuesday for actions invisible to the naked eye, was his discussion of the league’s new technical foul policy (the basics: no angry fist pumps, no demonstrative gestures, no nothin’). Here’s Mr. Harper:
Ultimately, this policy is a good thing for the time being, but not because players shouldn’t be able to question the officiating. It’s a good thing because it forces us (and yes, this includes the NBA and David Stern as well) to discuss the state of officiating. Even if the players have to be mum on the subject, the subject is still out there to be debated. Just debate it in a calm and mature manner. Otherwise, you’ll probably be ejected.
I’d say I agree with Zach’s essential point that the policy is useful if it forces us to actually face up to the state of officiating, and the dark essential question: even if the NBA is really poorly officiated, is that simply because the pro game is just too fast and complex to actually officiate well? On the other hand, while there are quite a few NBA players who really seem to relish a really good toddler-esque tantrum, this policy does seem to smack of David Stern’s vaunted paternalism. This league seems to really like telling grown men how to dress, when and how to talk, just what variety of facial contortion is the appropriate kind.