What already felt like a must-win for the Boston Celtics on Sunday night against the Miami Heat now is even more interesting given an early morning development.
Controversial official Tony Brothers will be the crew chief in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Kaseya Center. The 29-year veteran has been ridiculed by players around the league for years, even being voted as one of the worst referees in a recent poll conducted by The Athletic.
“He’s the worst ref to ever do it in the NBA,” one player told The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Josh Robbins in a story published last month. “He takes everything personal. He’s awful.”
It’s fair to note, however, the same poll included other players who praised Brothers. So for better or worse, one way or the other, Brothers seems to capture the attention of those on the floor and those watching.
He’ll be on center stage again Sunday in South Beach. Kevin Scott and Curtis Blair will be alongside Brothers as the referee and umpire, respectively.
Some statistics might make Celtics fans uneasy entering the contest with Brothers on the headset.
During the 2022-23 regular season, home teams won 64.1% of their games with Brothers on the floor. Home teams have won 57.6% of games during Brothers’ career, as well. And in his 183 playoff contests, home teams have emerged victorious 66.1% of the time.
In 10 contests this postseason, however, home teams are .500 with Brothers.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the average point total in those 10 games is 220.4 while fouls have gone slightly against the home team. The total currently is set at over/under 214 after opening at 211.5, per consensus data listed on NESNBets.com. DraftKings also noted how the home team has won six of Scott’s eight playoff games this postseason and the average total is 208.5. In Blair’s nine playoff games this spring, the home team is 4-5 and the average total is 209.
The Celtics currently are 4-point favorites entering Game 3 against the Heat. Boston opened as a 3-point road favorite, despite losing each of the last two games straight up after it entered as a considerable home favorite.
Tip off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.