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In defense of Joey Crawford, Chris Paul may have actually deserved his Game 6 ejection (VIDEO)

May 4, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

We shouldn’t all know the names of certain NBA referees if they’re quietly going about their business of calling games consistently and professionally, without abusing their authority by ringing up players for quick and questionable technical fouls, or even ejections that fall along those same lines.

Joey Crawford, however, is one of the biggest NBA stars among those who don’t put on a particular team’s uniform. As one of the most tenured officials remaining in the game, Crawford has a long history of making himself part of the story at times, which can be maddening for both fans and players alike.

Crawford led the officiating crew that called Game 6 between the Grizzlies and the Clippers, and played fast and loose with the whistle all night long. In total, the two teams were whistled for seven technical fouls (five for L.A., two for Memphis), one flagrant foul (on Chauncey Billups), and two superstars in Chris Paul and Zach Randolph were ejected late in the fourth quarter in separate incidents once the game had already been decided.

Not a great look for the league, obviously. But at least in the case of Paul’s ejection, it may have been justified.

The broadcasters don’t do a great job of pointing out exactly what happened here, even after being shown the replay a couple of times. The best look at what Crawford saw comes at the very beginning of the video clip above in real time, where Paul runs to the paint and gives Marc Gasol a shot to the midsection while Gasol’s head is turned toward the basket.

It didn’t appear to be much, but the contact Paul made didn’t seem to be necessary, either. From where Crawford was standing, and given the fact that it had been a physical game that was essentially over with Memphis up by 14 and less than two and a half minutes to play, you can at least see the reasoning behind his decision to send Paul to an early exit.

  1. dirtydean - May 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    wow, are you joking?

  2. cullimon - May 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    So wrestling a guy to the ground isn’t grounds for ejection? Everyone ejected deserved it

    • spthegr8 - May 4, 2013 at 7:32 PM

      I never have been nor will I EVER be a fan of Joey Crawford’s act. That SENILE OLD windbag, TRULY believes that people pay their hard earned money too see him. But after watching that play again, Joey made the correct call. That was out of frustration. No place for SH*T like that in basketball & if he would have done that to my teammate. I DAMN SURE wouldn’t have dapped him up before he left the court. Just Saying!!!

  3. goraidersgospurs - May 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    I see the rest of players on the floor for memphis gave Paul love before he exit!!!

  4. kinggw - May 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Paul didnt deserve the ejection, and the foul was questionable. I think Jon Barry was calling the game and said it best. He called what Gasol did theatrics.

  5. The Bash Blog - May 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Joey Crawford is terrible.

  6. tampajoey - May 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I still think Joey Crawford sucks.

    • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 7:15 AM

      he is the worst so far these playoffs.
      he screwed the knickerbockers a game already.

  7. in12wetrust - May 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Not a clippers fan….but the foul nor ejection were justified. FOH

    • atntitan - May 4, 2013 at 6:34 PM

      R u kidding me? If u watch any basketball u would know and also the dumb commentator who called gasols reaction too a cheap shot “theatrics”…that his abdomen was torn early in the season and retweeked with 3 weeks left!! Anyone that doesnt think cp3 did that on purpose is a clippers fan or blind…trust me chris paul did his homeowrk he knew our injuries and cant stand that we r going to western confeence finals and not flop city…oh yea cuz after our series last year the nba introduced flop fines

  8. tampajoey - May 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Think of the officials that you know by name. Joey Crawford (NBA), Dick Bevetta (NBA), Bennett Salvatore (NBA), Angel Hernandez (MLB), Joe West (MLB), Jeff Triplette (NFL).

    You only know their names because they suck.

  9. rickyspanish - May 4, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Crawford was on fire. I’m not a fan of Chris Paul’s antics but that sweaty evil ref was firing on all cylinders. NBA refs can take a page from the NFL refs and dumb down the histrionics. They seem way to eager to make calls.

  10. mrlaloosh - May 4, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    CP-ME IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE, A DRAMA QUEEN.

  11. michaeljordanseviltwin - May 4, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    I love how when you’re an a**hole for long enough people just start saying, “Well, you know; Joey’s Joey.” People will just accept that you do something incorrectly or in a boorish manner because that’s how you’ve always been. I read an article about Joey Crawford that casually joked about how he’s always been quick with the T…

    The man thinks we’re all here to see him! Joey C, stop trying to take over games and start improving the game of basketball. (BTW, look up Joey Crawford dance on YouTube for a serious laugh.)

  12. dsrcdr - May 4, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Joey Crawford should be fired. He always wants to be the show.

  13. eventhorizon04 - May 4, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    I thought it was a justifiable call, simply because Chris Paul is clearly delivering a shot to Marc Gasol for no reason. The shot wasn’t that bad, and it had been a physical series, but there was no point to what Paul did to Gasol. None.

    As you can clearly see in the video, Gasol is making no effort to get the rebound. Gasol is not exactly fighting hard against Matt Barnes, who is boxing him out without much effort despite having a huge size disadvantage. The game was in-hand, and as the ball bounced off the rim, Gasol was casually walking to the other end of the court while facing watching the ball.

    Paul saw Gasol not looking, and decided to give him an elbow to the gut for no reason, and Crawford called a technical after the game was basically over. It wasn’t a dangerous play or anything, but it was a bit “chippy,” and the refs didn’t want Memphis players to look for “revenge” with the game more or less done. There was no “basketball logic” behind what Paul did – it was a frustration shot.

  14. dannymac17 - May 4, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    whenever Joey is reffing the match you always take the over on ejections

  15. 80081e5 - May 4, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    “not a foul”
    I am no fan of Crawford, but what game are you guys looking at? The only reason you are allowed to check a player like that is for boxing out. Mark Gasol left the rebounding contest and was running into defence. CP should have seen that and avoided contact….it was a dumb play and the correct call was made.
    As for tech fouls, no matter the ref they are easy not to get.

  16. marcusfitzhugh - May 5, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    The clips were down by 14 with 2:30 to go when CP clearly fouled the guy for no reason. That makes him deserving of a T.

    If someone intentionally does something that is deserving of a T after the game and the series are both out of hand, why shouldn’t they be tossed?

  17. amuu07 - May 5, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    Gasol has been dealing with a torn abdomen. There is no “in defense of Joey Crawford” here. Paul took a running start and jabbed his elbow into Gasol’s midsection. All when the games already over, CP3 is pathetic. Greatest PG in the league…yet never made it out of the 2nd round. He’s an overhyped regular season superstar and a dirty player. And the announcers had the audacity to say theatrics?! Gasol just got elbowed in his already injured abdomen!! Should have been a flagrant because we know Paul’s intent behind it. Maybe he was mad because Gasol and Zbo punked his daughters the whole series.

    Amazing to see the clippers greatest season end right where the lakers nightmare season did. Paul can go hang that division title banner up now. Just beautiful :’)

  18. kavika6 - May 5, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Good call but I hope Crawford doesn’t do any Spurs games.

  19. BigBeachBall - May 6, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    the game was out of reach… paul got himself ejected so he could get a jumpstart on selecting the next coach and roster for next year.

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