This is the NBA, and it is the playoffs, so it is important to remember there are actually three sides to the triangle that is a playoff game the home team, the away team, and the referees. We all have seen enough basketball to know that the officials will have a role to play, and two, in particular, will have their say.
Assurance 4: Scott Foster and Joey Crawford will ref at least one game each
The free throw disparity the Suns have faced this season is something everyone knows about; Coach Williams has worked to ensure that is the case. However, in some games, that disparity is much worse than others, and we know from experience that when we see Foster and Crawford, we are likely in for a long night.
In the perfect world, we will get the two whistle-warriors together on the same night – as we did in round one – it will likely only cost the Suns one game. However, if the League wants to push Jokic as a star, we could see the pair across two or even three games if they are separated.
While the addition of Durant does change the math slightly regarding the algorithm of NBA officiating, one wonders if the hatred of CP3 is a bigger negative than the Durant positive. We have to hope that win or lose, the whistle goes both ways; we know if Foster and Crawford are blowing, it is unlikely.
Possibility 4: The referees are a non-factor in the series
Okay, this is laughable, given the history of the NBA and the history of the Suns. However, maybe, after 55 years of suffering and getting the rug pulled out from under them, the referees can not take center stage, and the players decide the series. This is the playoffs when we want to see the best basketball, and a parade at the free throw line is not it.
The idea that we can go through the whole series with neither team having to feel slighted is likely too much to ask of the NBA, but it is something we can hope for. Of course, if you watch Ted Lasso, you know the hope will kill you, and as Suns fans, hopefully, we’ve all already died enough.