This NBA postseason has proven that there is no safe refuge for those who want to escape referee-related conversation. The controversy and grievance will find you in every perceived safe space. The Houston Rockets, specifically, are out on real and digital street corners preaching the gospel of getting the shaft at maximum volume.
And, honestly, the commitment to the bit is impressive. Few franchises have ever found a way to complain in every tense.
James Harden, Mike DAntoni, and Chris Paul form the Big 3 of whining and protesting during the game. Sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. In Game 1 they were all worse than Draymond Green, which is no small feat.
Harden bitched afterward. The team put together an investigation into last year’s Western Conference Game 7. Their findings? Not that the Rockets missed 27 consecutive three-point tries. No, they put the onus on the zebras, who allegedly cost them 18 points, highlight 81 missed calls.
So there’s the past and present. This morning, we got the future complaints, the laying of groundwork for a later challenge. This time the trouble is centered on Scott Foster, a veteran official and no stranger to intrigue.
There is no grand masterplan to screw Houston here. Assignments are made in advance and the Rockets knew this was a possibility. Foster’s presence is no surprise.
To be clear, no Rockets player has yet to come out and complained about Foster this morning. But the day is young. In a few hours every call he makes will be met with whimpers and screeching. That’s just how the game is played now.
It’s been a long time since a team has done so much moaning. Even by 2019 standards, it’s noteworthy. Anecdotally, it seems as though there are plenty of those out there who are rooting for the juggernaut Warriors out of spite. That’s how unlikable the Rockets have become.
Big picture: the focus on calls and non-calls is a massive net-negative for the sport. These games are becoming borderline unwatchable. The only way to get through it is to willfully ignore all the obnoxiousness taking place all the damn time. And it will get worse.
We have teams complaining about the past, present, and future. As soon as they figure out a fourth way to do it, that arena will be explored as well.