Look, I'm no Boston Celtics apologist. Got no dog in the hunt between them and Heat, or in any hunt, really, from here on out.
As far as I'm concerned, when the calendar flips to June, the NBA is pretty much out of sight and out of mind. Just how I roll.
But Doc Rivers was absolutely right to call out the refs for the five technical fouls his team accumulated last night. He was right because, when you sock a team with five techs, it says a lot more about the quality of the officials' work and composure than it does the teams they're penalizing.
So, shame on Danny Crawford, the ref in question. Some of the techs he whistled were absolutely absurd. And the shame of it is, the culture in professional sports likely means Rivers gets fined for saying what needed to be said about it, because the culture is all about protecting game officials from criticism even when it's duly warranted.
Ironically, Jim Leyland of the Tigers addressed that very thing after his team's 7-4 loss to the Red Sox yesterday -- a loss aided and abetted by a blown call at the plate. In the second inning, Mike Aviles of the Red Sox player swung and appeared to tip the ball, and Tigers catcher Gerald Laird plainly caught it on the fly for the third out.
Except the homeplate ump, who got the call right, allowed the first-base ump to overrule him. And so, reprieved, the Red Sox went on to score three runs in an inning that should have been over.
After Leyland, like Rivers, said exactly what needed to be said: That everyone in the game, including the umps, needed to be held to some sort of standard.
"You guys need to write something and hold people accountable," he told the writers crowded around him.
He's exactly right, of course. And baseball will likely lighten his wallet for saying it.
What's wrong with that picture?