Late in Game 3 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns, a no-call by the referees left stunned players and fans alike. Devin Booker looked to be trying for a take foul on Russell Westbrook, although it was not called and led to a turnover on Westbrook. Westbrook was understandably furious, and fans used it as an example to point out the terrible refereeing so far in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Refs lowkey ruining these playoffs
— Tom Candy (@candidcandyman) April 21, 2023
It’s almost like the nba through the refs is deciding most of the results..of many of the series..more so than usual from the previous years..
— Shantanu Shekhar (@SeekerSoothe) April 21, 2023
it was a 7 pt lead at that time, foul couldve been clear path resulting in 2 FT’s plus ball possession…. @NBAOfficial made sure the @Suns won last night
— KlawnchTime (@LAClippersTeam) April 21, 2023
This is sincerely one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. Makes the Domas clear out on Loon (for the late-game ORB outback) look understandable.
Adding cause thus shows Russ ripping into the ref with no tech. https://t.co/WzxOvt6bD3
— Jared Wade (@Jared_Wade) April 21, 2023
It is yet another asterisk on a 2023 NBA Playoffs game because of a call, or in this case no-call, made by the referees. Not only are the referees blundering on crucial plays, but they are in instances like this one where the call seems pretty obvious. Fan and player reaction like this is starting to place a major problem in the hands of the NBA.
The Suns went on to beat the Clippers in Game 3 behind a monster performance from Booker, and the entire loss cannot be placed on this one call. However, the right decision here would have certainly affected the outcome of the game, as it turned out to be a pivotal turnover.
This referee controversy joins other snafus from the Philadelphia 76ers – Brooklyn Nets series, and the Sacramento Kings – Golden State Warriors series. In the Kings – Dubs, Draymond Green was ejected in Game 2 and ultimately suspended for Game 3 for what many believed to be a hostile act, but not something that warranted such a punishment. Then, Joel Embiid committed a similar infraction in Game 3 vs the Nets, and he didn’t even miss any playing time.
In general, the inconsistency across the 2023 NBA Playoffs in the refereeing has been maddening for all of those interested in the NBA product. Adam Silver and the commissioner’s office should really address some major changes in the system in place for becoming a referee this offseason. Plays like this one between Devin Booker and Russell Westbrook look like an obvious call, one an NBA referee has a responsibility to get right.
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