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With NBA Playoffs looming, Portland should have kept their heads

Apr 10, 2010, 9:50 AM EST

Portland, Oregon may not be a big fancy city, but one thing it does have is incredible basketball fans. Smart, passionate, devoted NBA basketball fans. The collective IQ at a Blazers game is probably higher than the average. But last night it plummeted to Neanderthal levels, and it’s got nothing to do with getting mad at the official.s It’s when they did it.

Last night during the Blazers-Mavericks game, fans became so incensed at a series of what a vast majority of people would call bad calls, things got a little out of hand. Ticky-tack control fouls, foolish technicals, absurd unevenness, and pretty much one of the worst balances of the season, officiating wise. Yet, probably not the worst, and even if so, something that happens routinely in the NBA. And Blazers fans, with where they’re at, have to keep a calm head.

They did not.

As Blazers Edge covers expertly in their recap, fans started throwing things on to the court. Okay, not cool, but that’s nothing too bad. Worthy of ejection if busted, and not acceptable, but that happens about as frequently as these types of games occur. But they also started throwing things into the Mavericks’ huddle.

Too far.

I’m not going to waste your time or mine on why this unacceptable, the possible dangers of doing so, nor am I going to mention the words ‘Ron Artest” or “Malice at the Palace.” But let’s just all agree that throwing things at people is a good way to get things out of hand in a hurry.

But if we’re looking for a long-term effect of this, try this on for size.

The Blazers may be screwed come the playoffs. Sure, there are a handful of regular season games between now and the postseason. But the real consequences will come in the playoffs. With that kind of atmosphere, in what will probably end up with a series against just those Mavericks they played DodgeBeer with last night, or the Los Angeles Lakers.

You know, because LA doesn’t usually end up on the positive side of the officiating.

The Blazers fans have now set a tone that the refs have to respond to. And respond they will, most likely in the form of setting an early tone, delivering quick fouls and technicals, to make it clear that such behavior will not be allowed again. They have an obligation to set a tone, and while the officials have seen their fair share of these kinds of incidents, their hand is still forced in this instance.

Which is bad news for the Blazers. They need a scrappy first round. They need to rely on heart and ability, because their talent is severely limited by injury and other factors. They are in a position of needing to play the kind of game the officials now cannot let go because of their behavior last night. You create an environment of chaos, and unfair or not, the riot police is going to come to restore order and put people back in their homes.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the tantrum the collective of Blazers fans (and personnel) will needle the refs to go back the other direction. But if they find themselves with Dirk Nowitzki or Kobe Bryant at the line 40 times in a round one game, they’ll have to deal with the fact that they, at least partially, were at fault.

The season of unfortunate circumstances for the Blazers continues.

  1. Randall - Apr 10, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Won’t matter too much. Twas a good season under the circumstances, but I don’t see the second round in this year’s forecast. Here’s hoping they prove me wrong.

  2. Terry - Apr 10, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    You’ve got a “serious” spelling error and grammatical error in paragraph two there.

  3. Terry - Apr 10, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    “Last night during the Blazers-Mavericks game, fans became so incensed at a serious of what vast majority of people would call bad calls.”
    You have a couple problems in that sentence. Please fix and fire the editor.

  4. Rick - Apr 10, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    A tightly officiated series helps, not hurts, the Blazers. They are a young, finesse team that plays better when fouls are called than when the refs allow the games to be physical.
    Also, they are no longer severely limited by injury. Oden and Przybilla are the only Blazers not available for the playoffs, and the addition of Marcus Camby mitigates that loss.

  5. kc - Apr 10, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    It’s that kind of officiating (or lack there of) that lends to doubting the honesty of the refs. I would like to see an inquiry and some consequences handed to them.

  6. S - Apr 10, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Actually, this was absolutely abysmal officiating. The foul on Nicolas Batum when Jason Terry ran right into him, initiating contact (and then the foul was only on Batum) was one problem, along with no-calls one and three possessions prior (on the other end) on drives by Roy and Miller. This may not have been the Lakers-Kings game of 2002 or something, but at the end of the day, it definitely crossed the threshold into bad-enough-to-react-strongly officiating.
    Now, we don’t have a Mark Cuban or a Phil Jackson – Paul Allen and Nate McMillan can be described as classier guys (or weaker guys, depending on your viewpoint) than other teams’ owners and coaches, and they won’t complain too much to the NBA about this. Who knows if this is an advantageous or disadvantageous trait, but that’s the way it is. But I think it needs to be noted that guys like LeBron and Dirk get calls they don’t deserve. Even Kobe and Dwyane Wade, though one has been forgotten in the rush to coronate a new King-of-basketball and the other has been forgotten because his team sucks, occasionally get calls that are based on “phantom contact” (ie, a foul with no contact at all).
    I agree that things shouldn’t be thrown into the Mavs’ huddle. They’re a good team with a great coach and an owner who is great for the game of basketball, and it’s not their fault they get the benefit of bad calls (though I wish Cuban would acknowledge that occasionally the Mavs are on the good end of the bad officiating he often complains about). But this outrage was well-deserved, as the game was given – GIVEN – to the Mavericks last night by three men in striped shirts.

  7. BlazerWookiee - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Seriously?

  8. NeverWatchesTheNBA - Apr 21, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    I stopped watching the NBA years ago… just wandered into this forum while idly browsing from MSNBC. I stopped watching the NBA for one simple reason and that is because the officials are too involved in determining who wins the game. Games are not fairly or objectively called and anyone who thinks they are should send me some of whatever they’re smoking. It’s a silly game and the faster it dies off the better off the sporting world would be.

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