Complaining about the officials is pretty corny, but that’s not exactly what this post is.
I just wanted to share a side-by-side video clip because we bizarrely had a sequence play out in Game 2 that was exactly the same as Game 1. It was so similar that is was borderline eerie, with the same players involved in the same exact spot on the court.
In this case, it’s Matisse Thybulle sliding to cover a driving Trae Young, and in this clip below, Craig put the two snippets together for us:
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) June 9, 2021
Yep. Both were whistled as fouls.
Doc Rivers challenged in Game 1 and the play was not overturned. You could perhaps argue that Thybulle’s left hand makes contact with Young’s right arm, but it’s very slight, and the push off is obvious. In Game 2, the call was probably worse from the refs, because there’s no hand-on-arm from Thybulle before Young initiates with his shoulder and gets the whistle.
The reason this is important is because the Sixers switched Ben Simmons over to Young in Game 2 and they have Thybulle guarding him as the #2 guy. They’ll be able to play their defensive game if they stay out of foul trouble, but depending how the refs are feeling on a given night, a couple of these cheap whistles could turn things hairy and throw the approach out of whack. Last night, it ended up being feasible and they didn’t run into issues.
More than anything, it’s just annoying that offensive players across the league are able to initiate and get these calls, even though the defenders are playing it perfectly. Joel Embiid does this, too, to an extent, and it benefits the Sixers, but I think if you polled fans, the majority would say that the NBA has to cut down on offensive players swinging into arms and bodies and drawing ticky-tack whistles.