BOSTON- The Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets each pulled off thrilling victories to either push a lead or win a series.
However, two names come to mind when fans are asked about the game’s function. Referees Scott Foster and Tony Brothers.
Brothers was the official during the Celtics narrow victory over the defending champion Toronto Raptors that led to a 2-0 series lead while Foster officiated the tight game seven won by Houston over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Round 1.
Both referee however, have been known for their history of questionable calls and how their decisions have impacted both teams.
Until the previous game, the Celtics were 2-10 in playoff games that were officiated by Brothers. Meanwhile, the Rockets were at one point 0-7 under Foster despite recent luck.
Is it possible due to the public display of disdain by both teams towards the officials that has coincided with their losing records? Is the fans to blame?
During the Celtics win over Toronto, a series of late calls that favored Toronto only ignited the outrage of the fans wearing green.
The calls ensued following a plethora of threes from Boston’s Marcus Smart who at one point had the Celtics up by double digits. The late calls pushed the game closer than the play seemed to be.
In the case of Houston, the Rockets had to fight back from a deficit and a number of calls by Foster that seemed to only favor the Thunder, until star James Harden brought the team back in the waning seconds to close the deal.
Fans on Twitter took to the keyboard to voice their displeasure over the officiating.
Wait a second, fixing games? Is it possible that some matches are being fixed for ratings purposes?
This is not the first time however that both Foster and Brothers have appeared in the headlines for the wrong reason.
Foster especially has his name out there for his connection to former disgraced referee Tim Donaghy who has publicly accused the NBA of fixing games dating back to the Lakers and Kings Western Conference Finals series.
While the Celtics have had to deal with only one of them on a consistent basis, the Rockets had have had to deal with both, the climactic moment came during the 2018 Western Conference Finals between Houston and Golden State.
In that series, Rockets’ researchers alleging that poor officiating cost them 93 points over the course of the close seven-game series.
Recently, referee Marc Davis added his name to the referee despising train after a slew of questionable calls during Game 2 of the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks second round game won by the Heat in free throws with no time left on the clock by Jimmy Butler.
ESPN’s Stephen A Smith took to Twitter to voice his displeasure on the officiating.
This isn’t the first and certainly not the last time officials will be discussed in how their whistles affect the game and potential matchups.
One thing stands true however, even a fairly officiated game will not fully cover the previous reputation and history of how the whistles affected the outcome.