Whistle-swallowing is not quite as dangerous as it sounds, but it does affect games when refs are unwilling to call obvious fouls. Kevin Garnett has been the benefit of swallowed whistles his whole career, but not last night. KG had been setting moving screens left and right this game and last, but the officials for the most part let it go. But with the Celtics down by three and 12 ticks remaining, the Big Ticket wasn't so lucky. Andre Iguodala took an elbow and whistles were regurgitated.
People are in an uproar. Basketball purists have got their crazy eyes on. Charles Barkley is screening calls from his bookie. The "players should decide the game" card was invoked by many and with that card comes two helpings of manna, unlimited ammo, and five health points. Unfortunately, it's wrong.There's a big difference between calling an obvious foul and making yourself part of the game as an official. Giving Reggie Evans a technical foul for a high-five is the latter of those two. Garnett's moving screen, the former. It doesn't matter if it happened with 12 seconds left in the game or 12 seconds into it -- that's a foul. And an easy one to call, at that.
If the official doesn't make that call, Paul Pierce has a wide open look at the basket. Would NOT blowing the whistle qualify as the officials letting the players decide the game? No. Garnett decided the game when he committed a blatant foul right in front of the ref. He'd been doing it all game, the refs got him on it a couple times (and missed others - a Ray Allen three comes to mind, Jrue was getting tangled in KG's web), and he knows that's not legal. A foul is a foul is a foul.
Now, if it was a ticky-tack foul away from the play? Okay. I see your point, Kev. But this directly affects the result. Iguodala got elbowed and hipchecked halfway to midcourt while Pierce had all the room in the world to operate at the top of the key. If Iguodala punched KG in the throat (hyperbole alert!), should the refs let them play? A drunken fan wanders onto the court -- game on? Power outage in the arena -- digest those whistles? Stupid.
Doc Rivers "wasn't fond of it at all", while Garnett took the more upturned nose approach, saying "I’m going to continue to set picks. I’m going to continue to get guys open. That wasn’t, to me, the game." Wah. Doc seems pissy. KG's awfully scoffy. Dudes, don't foul people and the refs won't call fouls. Simple as that.
80% of SBN voters agree with the call. Do you?