And they go out there and allow players to freely change their pivot foot. And ignore players who screen for the ball like pulling guards. And wait to see if the shot misses before calling a foul. And let their ears overpower their eyes.
We are already into the second half of the season. The All-Star break is two weekends away, followed by the stretch run, with teams like Dallas and Denver and Portland and even Toronto fighting for postseason position or a playoff spot. And one extra win or loss can make the difference.
It seems like as good a time as any for the NBA to stop worrying about what coaches are saying about referees and start worrying about why they are saying it.
TRIVIA: Two teams have not had an All-Star since 2004, the longest current drought. Who are they? Answer below.
THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT: With his team trailing by 27 points in the final seconds, Clippers forward Caron Butler pretended to shake hands with Raptors forward Jonas Valanciunas and stole the ball from him for a cheap breakaway basket.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, reaching his wit’s end after an 18-point loss to the equally futile Detroit Pistons:
“Maybe we need to go back to 2 1/2 or three-hour practices and run up and down the floor. I asked our guys if they were content being 13-34, because if they are, let me know and we can make some changes.”
LINE OF THE WEEK: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland vs. Dallas, Jan. 28: 42 minutes, 12-20 FGs, 1-1 3-pointers, 4-5 FTs, 13 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks, one turnover, 29 points in a 106-104 win. Aldridge tied the game with his first 3-pointer of the season from the right side with 4.9 seconds left, then won it with a turnaround jumper from the left side at the buzzer.
LINE OF THE WEAK: Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte at San Antonio and Houston, Jan. 30 and Feb. 2: combined 60 minutes, 0-3 FGs, 1-2 FTs, six rebounds, zero assists, six blocks, zero steals, six fouls, two turnovers, one point in a pair of double-digit losses. The Lone Star State has a lottery game called the Texas Two-Step. These weren’t the winning numbers.
TRILLION WATCH: Our unexpected bye week meant we missed mentioning the momentous 11 trillion posted by Portland rookie Will Barton vs. Washington on Jan. 21. Barton obliterated the 8 trillions posted earlier this season by Brooklyn’s Josh Childress and San Antonio’s Matt Bonner. This week’s best non-effort also came from a rookie – Oklahoma City’s Perry Jones III, who had his second 5 trillion of the season at Cleveland on Saturday.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Chicago at Indiana, Feb. 4. This is the reschedule of the postponed game Dec. 26 when a big snowstorm hit Indianapolis. The Pacers haven’t lost at home since Dec. 7 and also had a scratch-and-claw 80-76 win at Chicago on Dec. 4. However, the Bulls have the NBA’s best road record at 14-7. The winner assumes first place in the Central Division.
GAME OF THE WEAK: Phoenix at New Orleans, Feb. 6. The Eric Gordon Invitational. Believe it or not, both these teams somehow have worse records than the Sacramento Kings.