NBA referees are inconsistent with their whistle


Erik Drost

NBA referee Tony Brothers

The NBA refs have been wildly inconsistent in the 2023 playoffs.

One of the biggest storylines that has taken place in the postseason so far revolves around Warriors forward Draymond Green and Kings big man Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis was on the ground following a defensive rebound from the Warriors. Green, trying to take off running for a fast break, was restricted to do so since Sabonis was latched onto his ankle.
The four-time champion had to catch his balance, which led him to step on Sabonis and ultimately leap off of him.

With a little over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of game two, Green was warranted a flagrant two, which automatically resulted in an ejection from the game. Sabonis, on the other hand, was only given a technical foul, which seems like a slap on the wrist considering he initiated the entire altercation

The following day, it was announced that Green would also be suspended from game three.

The inconsistency in this one instance alone is enough to prove how illogical the NBA referees can be.

A few days following that fiasco, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers got into an altercation of his own that was worthy of a suspension, but the NBA didn’t issue him one.

Following a dunk by Brooklyn Nets’ center Nicolas Claxton, Embiid hit the floor and Claxton stepped over him. As he was hovering over the 76ers’ star, Embiid blatantly and intentionally kicked him in the groin area.

Embiid was handed a flagrant one foul, which allowed him to remain in the game. This left NBA fans everywhere confused on the criteria for an ejection after watching Draymond get tossed for something much less deliberate a few days prior.

Later in the same game, Sixers guard James Harden was hit with a flagrant two for the weakest of all the instances. Harden was attempting to drive in on Royce O’Neale and seemed to push his arm toward his groin. It was a normal basketball play, but the referees deemed it worthy of an ejection.

When the Memphis Grizzlies took on the Los Angeles Lakers a couple days after that, NBA fans around the world saw yet another ejection take place.

Grizzlies player Dillon Brooks was guarding LeBron James as he was dribbling up court. James, trying to keep the ball away from Brooks, dribbled the ball behind his back. This baited Brooks to try and steal the ball. When attempting to swipe it, he connected with James’ groin area and was ultimately handed a flagrant two which ejected him from the rest of the contest.

All of these cases occurred in the first round of this years’ playoffs, and inconsistency would be an understatement to describe these fouls, ejections and suspensions.

The referees need to crack down on their criteria for what warrants an ejection because right now, it seems like it’s all over the place.

This is playoff basketball, which means tensions are high and so is the intensity. Ejecting players for silly fouls makes the game less appealing to the viewers, and ultimately just makes no sense.

NBA refs need to get consistent with their calls because they are now ruining the flow of games, and ruining great matchups that NBA fans have been highly anticipating.