We thought it went, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
A wrinkle on that theme came into play in a recent NBL encounter between the New Zealand Breakers in Adelaide against the Adelaide 36ers, where the Aussie refs sent four Breakers players off for various offenses.
D.J. Newbill, Alex Pledger, Robert Loe and Finn Delany all fouled out of the game. It was as though Shaquille O’Neal had returned to the NBA and the officials decided to actually enforce the rules about running up and down the court without dribbling and assessing a foul for the infraction.
Fortunately, the Breakers had substitute players to finish the game, which resulted in a 95 – 92 loss to Adelaide.
Those Aussie refs will have a severe case of laryngitis after calling 31 fouls on the Breakers and 21 of the 36ers. It was like the old joke where a ref swallows the whistle while experiencing an allergy event and blowing a whistle every time he sneezes.
Breakers’ Coach Paul Henare was of the opinion that it was a case of nationalistic jingoism. For whatever reason, when we play on the road we get called for 25 to 30 fouls,” Henare said.
Careful, Mr. Henare. There is not a league in the world that takes kindly to coaches calling the objectivity of their anointed officials into question.
“Either we’re a completely different team on the road or there’s inconsistencies with the way the game’s being called.”
That one crosses the line, sir. Saying that he expects fewer whistles when the 36ers visit Auckland.
Not one to shun controversy, Adelaide Coach Joey Wright chimed in, offering the opinion that in the latter part of the game, the refs threw some bones to the Breakers to try and square the ledger.
Wright, however, was more circumspect in his comments.
“There were three important factors that played a part in that … I just can’t talk about those three,” he said.