For First Time This June, Officiating Not a Problem in NBA Finals

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June 11, 2010

For First Time This June, Officiating Not a Problem in NBA Finals For the first time in this year?s NBA Finals, the main focus of a game wasn?t on officiating.

The real story on the floor in Game 4 was finally the players, not the work of officials, which has been called into question  this June.

The referees put the whistles away for the most part in the Celtics? 96-89 win over the Lakers at the TD Garden, and the best-known former official in the world approves.

Ex-NBA official and ex-convict Tim Donaghy, in fact, claimed that "the league got just what it needed ([Thursday night]: a game with very little controversy," Deadspin.com reports. 

Donaghy also praised the officiating crew of Scott Walker, Greg Willard and the infamous Eddie F. Rush by saying that the game was "the best job by the officials in the NBA Finals so far."

The officiating job is even more impressive when you take into account that many Celtics fans groaned over the news that Rush was going to be working the game after the fiasco in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in which Rush assessed Kendrick Perkins with a questionable technical foul. The foul would have resulted in a one-game suspension had it not been rescinded by the league the next day.

The game was a breath of fresh air for NBA commissioner David Stern and the league offices, as ticky foul calls and a disruptive flow have been criticized throughout the Finals.

Celtics stars were hampered by fouls in Game 1 (Ray Allen), Game 2 (Kevin Garnett) and Game 3 (Paul Pierce). Lakers star Kobe Bryant also got into foul trouble in Game 3, when he registered five personals, but that?s unlikely to happen again, especially since the fouls kept one of the game?s elite talents off the floor for a large chunk of the game.

Looking further into the Game 4 box score reveals how well the game was officiated. The Lakers were whistled for 23 personal fouls, while the Celtics were charged with 21. The Celts also enjoyed the slightest of margins in free-throw discrepancy with 23 trips to the line, while the Lakers shot 22.

Of course, the officials couldn?t get through the night without at least something happening to them. In the first quarter, Pierce caught Rush with a nice right hook in the midst of a celebratory fist pump, something that probably brought smiles to Celtics fans everywhere.

Rush, no stranger to the quick technical, proved he could take the punch and walked it off without assessing another technical.

Basketball fans everywhere will be hoping to see more of the same from the officials for the rest of the Finals.

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