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Clippings: Does it seem like there’s more complaining about the referees this year?

Wednesday was not a great day for the player/referee relationship.

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NBA: FEB 14 Cavaliers at Clippers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier this week, after the Clippers took seven total free throws against the Milwaukee Bucks, Paul George — who had just finished his second straight game without earning a foul shot — was asked about the team’s low free-throw rate.

George said, “That’s more of a league question than our team question, that’s more of a league question.”

The Clippers star’s dissatisfaction with the refereeing was just the tip of the iceberg for a week that has seen multiple high-profile players call out officials. Devin Booker couldn’t believe he was ejected for what the referees called “continuous complaining” in a game against the Lakers Tuesday. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert both had strong criticisms for the officials in their loss to Philadelphia Wednesday when Mitchell was ejected in overtime.

The Clippers’ crosstown rivals had multiple issues with the officiating in their loss to Sacramento Wednesday, including former Clipper Montrezl Harrell being given a technical foul for yelling “AND 1” after a finish in the paint. The Kings were also awarded three points for what was clearly a two-point field goal by Buddy Hield, and Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the referees told him the judgement from the replay center came too late for them to make a change, despite said shot occurring in the second quarter.

It’s important to note that the referees are under as much stress as the players this season, and the truncated schedule, as well as working during a pandemic, does them no favors as well. But it certainly appears as though the officials are becoming as much a part of the story as the players in recent week, and that’s not an ideal balance for the NBA.

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