NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: For the sake of watchable basketball, referees stop blowing the whistle

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Kobe_complains.jpgOne hundred and thirty four.

That is how many free throws we’ve gotten to witness through the first two games of the NBA finals. That is 67 free throws a game. The league average was about 48 a game during the regular season.

That is a 71 percent increase in foul calls for the NBA finals.

I’m not jumping on the conspiracy theory bandwagon here — the referees have been whistle happy and inconsistent with calls, but they have been equal opportunity bad. Ray Allen got to sit in Game 1, Kobe was in trouble and tentative late in Game 2 because of fouls. Big Baby had had clean blocks called fouls, Lamar Odom apparently gets a call for just stepping on to the court. There have been bad calls, but they have gone both ways.

And the team that has adjusted better to the calls have won both games.

But there just needs to be less of them.

I’m not asking for a return to the 1990s. For any reason. Nobody wants to watch that again. Not even Jeff Van Gundy and he coached one of those teams. We don’t like the whistle being blown every trip down the court.

The tight whistles are hampering the aggressiveness of the teams. They are keeping the best players on the bench for too long. They are taking any flow out of the games. While Game 2 was exciting, neither game has been aesthetically pleasing (outside of Ray Allen’s pure jumper).

It’s the finals — let the big boys play a little. If Andrew Bynum and Kendrick Perkins want to bang on the block, let them. If the Lakers get a little physical with Ray Allen as he comes off screens, so be it. If Kobe has to fight through some contact to get through a double team, that’s the way it should be. There can be a little bumping, some pushing, a little physicality.  

I get not wanting the game to get out of control, but so far it has been the referees that have been the ones out of control. In trying to exert their control.

It’s the finals — let them play a little. It’s what we all want to see.

Stephen Curry dumps ice on mid-interview Klay Thompson, who says ‘I’m still hot’ (video)

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Klay Thompson scored an incredible 60 points in 29 minutes.

So, what did Stephen Curry do? Dump ice on his Warriors teammate during the post-game interview, of course.

That didn’t cool down Thompson, who’s probably still hot this morning.

Marc Gasol’s step-back 3-pointer sends Grizzlies to overtime, where they down Pelicans (video)

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Marc Gasol has turned himself into a bona fide 3-point shooter, and his latest triple came when the Grizzlies needed it most.

Gasol’s 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter tied last night’s game against the Pelicans.

Then, Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer to tie the game in overtime:

Memphis went onto win 110-108 in double overtime behind 28 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, two blocks and two steals from Gasol.

The Grizzlies have won three straight without Mike Conley (or Chandler Parsons), the victories coming by a combined six points

Celtics’ Al Horford blows game-winning layup against Rockets (video)

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The Celtics couldn’t have asked for a much better look on their final possession, but Al Horford missed this layup to give the Rockets a 107-106 win last night.

Maybe Isaiah Thomas should have gone to the line for getting pushed over by Montrezl Harrell, but I’m not 100% sure Harrell should’ve been called for a foul. Besides, that Thomas screen sprung Horford for the layup. I’d take my chances with that barely contested close-range shot.

Michael Beasley, Davis Bertans ejected from Bucks/Spurs for being third/fourth into altercation

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This should have been the usual NBA altercation — two guys jawing with nothing physical happening because teammates step in, everyone does their posturing, and we move along. Monday night in the Spurs eventual win over the Bucks, Greg Monroe and Dewayne Dedmon got tangled up going for a rebound, Dedmon threw a little elbow, Monroe pushed him off, and the two started the well choreographed NBA dance.

Then San Antonio’s Davis Bertans came in and shoved Monroe.

Followed by Milwaukee’s Michael Beasley coming in and shoved Bertans.

Both Beasley and Bertans were ejected for escalating the situation, and you can expect the league will hit both with a fine for being the third/fourth men in.