The Denver Nuggets were frustrated with Sunday night’s loss in Cleveland, and that seemed to carry over into the start of Monday night’s game against Detroit.
Michael Malone was among the referees from the opening tip – the Nuggets have the league’s lowest FG/FTA rate and the third-fewest free throw attempts per game (18.3), and Malone says it’s not about his team – and Als before that As the first quarter ended, he lashed out at the referees and they sent him back to the locker room to watch Monday Night Football.
Early in the game, Jokic shouted “Wake up” to the referees, and when he complained about a no-call on the post just before halftime, he was knocked down with a very gentle second technical.
What Jokic did was not worthy of expulsion. Point. The players did much, much more and didn’t even get a technical check.
The officials felt quick to react and seemingly even thinner this season. I get it, being an NBA referee is incredibly difficult, and part of that challenge is that everyone is always complaining about gaining an advantage or just plain frustrated. It sucks. Also… IT’S THE JOB. That’s not new.
Vincent Goodwill wrote a fantastic article at Yahoo Sports last weekafter quick technical calls for Draymond Green and Giannis Antetokounmpo, with Monty McCutchen, NBA director of referee development and training, saying this about the calls.
“What we know historically is that uncontrolled taunts lead to altercations. Technical fouls and taunts continue to be coordinated with the competition committee.”
We want passionate play. A little more physicality wouldn’t hurt, but let the players show their emotions. Let them get fired up. That means some mockery and some frustration with the officiating, and that’s part of the trade-off for a better game. More passionate play. More addictive game. And honestly a better selling product.
Nobody wants stars to be gently ejected.