Tag: respect for the game

Stephen Jackson, Mark Ayotte

It’s not Stephen Jackson, it’s those referees that have it in for him

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Stephen Jackson will take your technical and not apologize for his actions. He owned up to his situation.

His agent, he’s more conspiracy theorist, and that comes across when he spoke with ESPN. It is clear the referees are singling him out, agent Mark Stevens said.

“The inconsistency of the referees’ calls or non-calls in close games is becoming questionable,” Stevens said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “It looks like they’re taking the player and/or his personality into account when deciding whether or not to make calls.”

“The referees are the law enforcement arm of the game,” Stevens said. “They enforce the rules and regulations that the players must abide by. However, just as profiling is wrong in police work, we must make sure that the league does not do personal profiling of certain players.

“I understand that my player has had past conflicts with the referees, but their job is to be as fair as possible when calling the game, regardless of any past issues with a player.”

I don’t think Stevens is totally wrong here. The calling of the “respect the game” technicals is wildly inconsistent. The first thing to pop into mind is the double given at the end of the Mavericks and Kings game this week, where Tyson Chandler and DeMarcus Cousins got tossed for trying to get position for a free throw rebound (there was nothing on that play that doesn’t happen a dozen times a game). It ended up being Cousin’s sixth foul and took him out at the end of a close game.

I’d also agree certain players seem to get T’d up more quickly for doing less. Dwight Howard gets a lot of borderline calls against him. Maybe Jackson does, too.

But Jackson’s problem isn’t the first tech he draws, it’s that he doesn’t stop talking and complaining and that’s when he draws the second. And gets tossed. That one is on Jackson, not the official. When you are the team’s leading scorer you need to keep a cool enough head to stay on the floor. Jackson may get picked on, but if he’s to be a true leader he has to rise above it.

Dwight Howard has a technical problem

Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic, Game 5
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Cooler heads have prevailed —the calling of “respect for the game” technical fouls has calmed down for the most part around the league. Players reined themselves in a little, the refs are giving a little more leeway in an emotional game.

But none of that seems to happen when Dwight Howard is on the floor — he keeps talking and the referees keep giving him technicals. Number 12 on the season came in the first quarter Thursday night when Howard fumbled a ball out of bounds, said something and got T’d up.

Four more this season and he gets suspended for a game. And he gets suspended for a game for every other one after that. Which at his current pace is a lot of games off.

Stan Van Gundy lobbied for his player in the media Thursday, as reported by FanHouse.

“They (officials) are looking for him, no question. They make a call on him and they are looking for his reaction. Other guys get away with stuff. He’s going to have to accept that, they are looking for him. Every one of them (officials),” Van Gundy said. “For other guys, they look away. He’s not going to be treated like everyone else in the league…

“I could probably name you 20 guys in the league who are a lot harder on officials than he (Howard) is,” Van Gundy continued. “Why he’s been the guy to get all the technicals, I don’t know. There are guys that yell at them, swear at them and everything else, and they get away with it some. Dwight just has to make an adjustment, and we’ll go from there.”

Van Gundy said all Howard did to earn a technical Thursday was say “damn” and that other players used much saltier language but were not hit with a technical.

Maybe. There is other context there. But regardless of Van Gundy’s point this is still all about Howard — he has to adjust to the rules, fair or not. As pointed out at Orlando Pinstriped Post, Howard is racking up a technical every 93.1 minutes played, which is not quite Rasheed Wallace territory but it is up there.

Howard lets his frustration get the better of him, feeling he was called for unfair fouls he talks back. He has to control himself, and he is not. Howard has to do it for the team. Right now the Magic don’t have a real back up center (after trading Marcin Gortat to Phoenix) and they can’t afford to be without Howard. Which they will be in four more technical — or about 10 games at his current pace of fouls and minutes.

So complain about the rules all you want — we’re no huge fans of the respect of the game techs here — but in the end this is all on Howard. He decides his own fate.

Rip Hamilton ejected five minutes into Lakers/Pistons game


How you feel about Rip Hamilton’s ejection less than five minutes into the Lakers game against the Pistons is like a Rorschach test for how you feel about the NBA’s new “respect for the game” enforcement and use of technical fouls.

At the 7:01 mark of the first quarter, Hamilton was whistled for his second foul on a Kobe Bryant turnaround jumper. Hamilton said some things to referee Derrick Stafford, but was not demonstrative about it. Stafford gave him a technical.

After that Hamilton continued to talk to Stafford and again was not demonstrative but this time used some foul language. Quick second technical and he was gone.

As you can expect, Pistons fans were up in arms, both in the arena (as tweeted by Chris Lott) and on twitter.

Favorite crowd comment to heckle the refs after the ejection: “You are incredibly insecure.”

What was more interesting was the reaction from the traveling army of Lakers writers (compared to most teams media entourage they are an invading army). Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles tweeted the same reaction I did at home:

Stunned that Rip Hamilton just got ejected for that. He wasn’t even looking at the ref or disrespecting his personal space. Sick of the rule

But Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register responded differently.

It was not unfair: Stafford let Rip yell right at him once w/o tech. Rip should’ve stopped there … or not gone profane at him after 1st T.

And that’s what it comes to, because the lines are never seemingly in the same place. There is no consistency of enforcement game to game (or often within games). Hamilton was not demonstrative, was not inciting the crowd or screaming that loudly (some courtside media did not hear it). On the other hand, should referees have to deal with that kind of language and treatment at all under the new rules?

Where is the line? Where you put it depends on your personal feelings and tolerances. Just like the referees. Which is to say it is all over the place.

Winderman: “Respect for the Game” not easy to define, even for LeBron, Terrence Williams

New Jersey Nets v Miami Heat

While much has been made of the NBA’s crackdown on “respect for the game,” with the league’s whistle-blowing onslaught of technical fouls, the sought-after upgrade in decorum is actually more about respect for referees.

But what exactly is respect for the game? Is it sideshow antics during games that seemingly make players bigger than their teams, and add insult to beaten-down opponents? It is muting such attempts with physical fouls in Oakley old-school style?

Saturday night’s Heat game against the Nets offered a perfect example on both counts, and plenty of reflection in these ensuing days.

At one point, free and clear for a breakaway dunk, Dwyane Wade instead flipped the ball over the rim for a LeBron James dunk. The two then went airborne for a full-body bump at midcourt during the ensuing New Jersey timeout.

Shortly thereafter, Nets swingman Terrence Williams rode James out of bounds with a shoulder block that was ruled a Flagrant 1 foul.

In the wake of that incident, there was plenty of back and forth, about the very subject of “respect for the game.”

To James, the respect was giving fans what they paid to see.

To Williams, it was about refusing to be anybody’s punchline.

Monday, the NBA said there would be no further action against Williams, no upgrade to a Flagrant 2 for the non-basketball play, no fine, no suspension.

Shortly before that league announcement, James grew brusque with a reporter who had asked at Heat practice about Saturday’s “circus” plays, with James also feeding Wade behind the back for an earlier dunk.

“We’re just an athletic team, just making plays,” James said. “There’s nothing circus about it. Everyone wants to put a ‘Showtime’ or ‘showboating’ on us. Nah, we just made plays. It’s not circus.”

Of course, everything about this Heat season is a circus. And we probably heard Terrence Williams’ name more this weekend that we heard it his entire rookie season.

But it is interesting that at a time when David Stern is stressing “respect for the game,” no one seems to know where that line falls, unless it comes to an askew glance at a referee.

Of course, it could be worse. At least Stern’s players aren’t spitting at each other.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Technical fouls calls up 27 percent this season

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
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Interesting numbers from the ESPN statistics folks, which Zach Harper lays out over at TrueHoop:

Number of technical fouls per game through Oct. 31: 07-08 season, 1.18; 08-09 1.80; 09-10 1.76;

This season it is 2.42 technicals per game. Per game that is a 27 percent increase over last season.

Or look at it this way: Last season there had been 67 technicals called by Oct. 31, this season there have been 104.

This has been the impact of the new “respect for the game” technical foul rules.

It is working in this sense — complaining is certainly down. Phil Jackson said during film sessions it was “comical” to see the guys trying to hold back.

But the question is has it gone too far with some officials. Some games — New Orleans vs. Denver last Friday night for example — saw a game drag to an ugly halt during the second quarter as a parade of free throws killed the flow. There have been things like the technical on Darko Milicic this weekend in what ended up being part of a one-point loss. The line for what is and is not permissible seems to move nightly, and vary from official to official.

Personally, I think Kevin McHale hit the nail on the head.