Dear Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson: Please tell your players to stop fouling.  Please.

There is no way around it.  The NBA Finals have been a travesty so far.

Granted, I have zero rooting interest in the actual outcome beyond my token appreciation for Crazy Pills.  I would like Ron Artest to get a Championship Ring and then watch the interaction he has with David Stern when said ring is presented to him.  That alone is worth my attention.

Meanwhile, all I hear about is how the referees are ruining the Finals.  When, in fact, more blame should be assigned to Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson.  And, to a lesser degree, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Derek Fisher and Mr. Artest.

You see......... just because you were not called for a foul the previous four times you tackled a player running through the middle does not mean it is not a foul the fifth time you do it.  The referees are trying their damndest not to blow the whistle every f--kin' time you grab and hold and impede player movement.  At some point, however, their patience is going to wear thin.  The whistle will subsequently blow.

This is why Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are constantly in foul trouble.  It's because they are fouling on every single possession.  Do not blame the refs.  Every time Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant put the ball on the floor, Pierce and Allen (and their backups) are clutching, grabbing and slapping at it as if they are playing whack-a-mole.  Hint, hint - this is a foul.  Just because you have 2 already does not mean you cannot get whistled for a 3rd... or 4th... or 6th.

On the flip side, Derek Fisher is drawing an insane amount of offensive fouls that are not fouls.  Do we realize the purpose of setting screens?  It is to knock the defender on his ass when he runs into the pick.  Just because Fisher flops around and acts as if he is shot when he is screened does not make that a foul.  In fact, that's what is supposed to happen.  Instead, the whistle blows and Kendrick Perkins picks up another foul. 

What really bothers me though is the juxtaposition of where fouls are called.  If you are meandering around the 3-point line and breathe on Kobe or Pierce, it's a foul.  Fine, whatever... so long as you call that consistently.

Meanwhile, if you are anywhere near the rim, it's Aussie Rules Football.  Andrew Bynum is getting tackled every time they dump the ball into the post.  No one calls a foul.  Same for when Garnett and Perkins try to catch the ball.  It's infuriating to watch.  A foul 20 feet from the basket is also a foul 2 feet from the basket.  There's no proximity rule or sliding scale for measures of degree. 

Maybe if the refs truly take charge and call fouls on everyone the first 5 minutes, both Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson will get the hint.  Okay, maybe not Doc - he seems kinda slow on the uptake when it comes to referees.  But you cannot instruct your team to play defense by fouling and then act indignant when you actually get called for fouls.

So, I beg of you, stop it.  Stop it now.  I want to enjoy watching the Finals.

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