NBA refs at it again; fouling out Chris Paul allows Mavericks to tie series with Suns

·3 min read

No one tried harder to fix officiating more than Mark Cuban, and more than 20 years into his tenure the refs are still the same.

Maddening. Terrible. Great. Awful. Consistent. Inconsistent. Ego maniacs.

In the way.

Directly influencing the outcome when they aren’t supposed to.

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 111-101 in Game 4 on Sunday due to 3-point shooting, and an intervention from the officials.

Phoenix Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul fouled out. This happens almost as frequently as a global pandemic.

Chris Paul has played in 139 career NBA playoff games, and fouled out of three of them.

The series is tied at 2, and returns to Phoenix on Tuesday night for Game 5.

The Suns without Paul are like the Mavs without Luka Doncic.

Don’t be surprised if Paul does not pick up six fouls for the remainder of the series combined.

On Sunday, he finished with six fouls and five points in 23 minutes. He had five rebounds and seven assists in those 23 minutes.

When he was on the floor, he was the Suns’ best player. He wasn’t on the floor much.

1Q: Paul is called for his first foul at the 11:34 mark, with Phoenix leading 3-0.

1Q: With the Mavs leading 19-13, Paul is whistled for an offensive foul with 5:44 remaining in the quarter.

2Q: Paul is called for a foul with 1:52 remaining in the half, and comes out of the game with the Suns trailing by nine.

2Q: Paul re-enters the game with 45 seconds remaining in the half; with 1.1 seconds remaining, he picks up his fourth foul on a loose ball as he tried to rebound his own miss.

The Mavs lead by 12 at the break.

3Q: The Mavs lead 68-61 with 9:32 remaining in the third quarter, and Paul is called for an offensive foul after he stopped and backed into Mavs guard Jalen Brunson.

Phoenix coach Monty Williams challenged the call, and it was upheld.

4Q: Paul picks up his sixth and final foul with 8:58 remaining in the game when he apparently bumps Brunson. The Mavs led by eight at that point, and the game was never in doubt after Paul left the floor.

If this game is played in Phoenix, at least three of Paul’s fouls are not called. In Phoenix’s two playoff wins in this series, both at home, he was called for five fouls total.

The referees lost control of Sunday’s game long before the game started.

They are also not the reason the Mavericks won. They did, however, help.

The Mavs made 20-of-44 of their 3-pointers; Dorian Finney-Smith finally showed up in this series as he made 8-of-12 3-pointers and finished with 24 points.

Technically Paul did play on Sunday, but the refs put him on the bench.

Do not expect to see this sort of thing to happen again in any of the remaining three games of this series.

Expect more erratic officiating.

Refs are part of the fabric of the NBA, and specifically an NBA playoff series.

They’re in the way, will screw it up, and influence the outcomes.

Mark Cuban tried like hell to fix it, but not much has changed.