I know sports fans like to complain about referees.
But honestly, how can we be happy with the officiating that has gone on during this series?
I'm pretty sure David Stern can't slap a fine on me for saying this, but right now, the 2nd biggest story in the series is the inconsistent (yet consistently poor) officiating. (oh, and if you're wondering, the 1st is D-Will's coming out party as the NBA's top PG)
Unfortunately for the other team in powder blue (Nuggets), the stoppage of play affects their chemistry, momentum, and rhythm more than the Jazz. Utah runs more set plays, and focuses on both effort and execution - Denver has a rough time even doing one of those at any given time. However, sometimes the Nuggets are capable of wreaking havoc and eating opponents alive - we all know you've seen it before.
The problem is, that usually happens when they are working the fast break and knocking down 3's. Til last night, Denver has struggled woefully from the 3pt line, and not done a great job of forcing steals without fouling or going after loose balls. In fact, far more often than not in this series, going for steals or loose balls has resulted in fouls on the Nuggets (and often the Jazz too, the Nuggets just pick bad timing, a la Carmelo's moronic tackle last night).
This would be less of a problem if Karl were on the bench. At least he would be able to adjust and help the players given the inconsistency and Jazz up (pardon the pun) their play calling and MO. However, Dantley is the one calling the shots, and he is putting more energy into trying to replicate what George Karl does for the team than innovating on the fly to help them win the series.
Fortunately for Utah, their game plan from the 1st day of training camp is better equipped to handle these circumstances. Jerry Sloan knows basketball, and he knows how to win games no matter who is on his team. Even so, I was surprised to see how things went after Okur went down with AK-47 already out.
I just want to get to see more chemistry on the floor.
Let the refs swallow their whistles.
Let Denver beat Utah by making random plays and running them into the ground.
Or, - far more likely - let the Jazz play hard, run their sets, and play their trademark hard-nosed basketball and finish off the series in style.
Whatever. I'm just frustrated for the fans of both teams, or any other fans watching these past games. Nobody likes a series to be this marked by sporadic refereeing.
Frankly, I think with all the complaining from both sides, the refereeing has been adjusted - out of necessity.
However, the refereeing "style" this past game was geared more towards the Nuggets, in my opinion.
Fear not - you can breath a sigh of relief.
Just like a make-up call after a poorly called foul or bad no call, Mr. Stern will instruct the referee crew to adjust.
We all know what that means: just like the previous five games, the fans, and the players for that matter, won't know how tight the refs are going to call the game.
Why couldn't this have been the season of "Replacement Refs"?