The focus on officiating that dramatically increased through the 48 hours since the Rockets’ Game 1 loss to the Warriors picked up again on Tuesday even before Game 2 could start.
Scott Foster, the official that Rockets star James Harden said in February should not work Rockets games again, was named the crew chief for Tuesday’s game, working along with Ed Malloy and Eric Lewis. Rodney Mott is the alternate.
Officiating crews are assigned for the first four games of each series before NBA playoff series begin so the choice of Foster was not in reaction to the Rockets’ complaints about the officiating in Game 1. There is, however, a long history of high profile issues with Foster among the Rockets’ stars, Harden and Chris Paul.
Foster had not been assigned to a Rockets game since the Rockets Feb. 17 loss to the Lakers when Paul and Harden each fouled out – including four offensive fouls called on Harden – and Paul and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni each received technical fouls. Harden has fouled out of four games in his career; three officiated by Foster. The Rockets lost three home playoff games last season officiated by Foster, but Paul had complained about him during that regular season.
“Yeah, Scott Foster at his finest,” Paul said that night of a technical foul he received from Foster when talking with official Courtney Kirkland. “You know what I mean? He just never fails.
“Some of them, you can [communicate] with. You’ve just gotta figure out who you can and you can’t. I got a tech tonight. I’m over there with [referee Courtney Kirkland] saying, ‘That’s Scott, that’s Scott,’ and I got a tech. That’s history there. He the man. That’s who they pay to see.”
When the Rockets lost to the Lakers in the first game after this season’s All-Star break, Harden was more direct with his comments, earning a $25,000 fine.
“Last year in the postseason, in the Western Conference Finals, I think he officiated a couple of our games,” Harden said. “It’s lingering. It has to be looked at. For sure, it’s personal. For sure. I don’t think he should be able to officiate our games anymore, honestly.
“Scott Foster man, I never really talk about officiating, but just rude and arrogant. I mean, you aren’t able to talk to him throughout the game. It’s not even that call. It’s who he is on that floor. It’s pretty frustrating. You can’t have a conversation. You get a tech.”
Paul was more cautious that night, but was clear about his frustration.
“I don’t know man,” Paul said of Harden getting called for four offensive fouls. “I have to watch the game over. I mean, I don’t know what else to do. I met with the league with him before. I don’t know what else to do.”
Asked if it is personal, Paul said, “I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know what else to do.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/NBA-referee-Scott-Foster-Rockets-Warriors-Game-2-13807222.php.