Sports

Monty Williams is absolutely right about refs missing calls


Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams was furious following Monday night’s 113-111 loss to the Knicks. The officiating crew for the game missed a blatant foul with 8.6 seconds remaining in the game following a Pistons steal while Detroit led by one. The missed call was so bad that the most novice casual fan could see something wasn’t right. This seems to be par for the course lately in the NBA with very little accountability.

Refs take lots of heat in most sports and the NBA is no exception. But when you see a play like this where rookie Ausar Thompson has his knees taken out on the sideline directly in front of a referee, it’s easy to understand why. It feels like we get at least one or two bad no-calls a week in the NBA.

Then we get that “apology” from the league following the game and that’s supposed to make it better. Those acknowledgements are great, but they don’t reverse the final score. Few games are lost on one play, but in this situation, a foul during what was already a crazy sequence could’ve helped seal the win for Detroit.

Screw that half-ass apology, the Pistons haven’t won 10 games this season and had this one within their grasp. Other than admitting they missed the call, refs go unpunished for some of the most egregious non-calls. On one hand, these officials will call the most ticky-tack foul for barely breathing on guys, but won’t call it when a player barrels into another risking serious injury to both.

Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo is the player who hurled his body into Thompson’s on the play in question as he dove after the loose ball. It’s a hard legit play, but you have to call the foul. If these refs can’t make the easy calls, then the Association should consider sitting them down for a game when they “swallow” their whistles on plays like this.

Williams has every right to be livid, not only at the missed call, but at the fact it could’ve resulted in an unnecessary injury to one of his players. Most of these are bang-bang plays, but when you’re in position and standing two feet from the action, gimme a break. Whether Thompson had complete control of the ball should be irrelevant when that much contact is involved.

Hopefully, there’s no fine that follows Williams’ tirade. But we know how sacred these officials are to the league and must be protected at all times. It really is ridiculous that officials can mess up (not just the NBA) this often and the powers that be expect you to believe no funny business ever goes on.

For newer NBA fans who aren’t familiar with former referee Tim Donaghy, use your Google machine and do some research. Not saying that’s the case here, but it’s not like the NBA hasn’t experienced this issue before. If it happened once, it could always happen again. But like most controversies, we’ll have moved on from this in another day or two and the NBA knows it. They only have to deal with the criticism for about 48 hours (if that) and folks will have transitioned to the next ordeal. The NBA really is “fantastic” sometimes.

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