The 2022 NBA Playoffs have been full of controversy including officiating. We have seen familiar storylines play out, with Chris Paul continuing his losing streak at the hands of Scott Foster, and referee calls in each game being contested by fans on both sides. The league's '2-Minute Report' that goes over missed calls at the end of games has become essential reading for fans at this point.
The referees are having a lot of impact on how the decisions are swinging. Everyone knows why referees having that much influence is a bad look for the league, be it because it ruins the fan experience or because NBA referees have an existing reputation for skewing calls in someone's favor.
Former NBA players Matt Barnes went in on the state of refereeing in the 2022 Playoffs on his podcast alongside Stephen Jackson.
"I don't ever remember talking about refs this much as a player or as a fan than I have in this year's playoffs. They're just fu**ing up the entire flow of the game. They're going to the monitor 2 or 3 times in a five-minute span. There's no flow or rhythm to the game, they're checking every common foul to see if it's a flagrant foul. Use your eyes. 9 out of 10 times, you can fu**ing see that sh*t happens, it's basketball. But every time someone is touched above the shoulders or touched in the face or falls on the ground, they're checking to see if it's a flagrant foul and its fu**ing up the flow of the game and is a horrible look for the NBA and the NBA referees right now."
Barnes is right about how the constant reviews have made the game much harder to watch. We have had many instances of close games taking over 20 minutes to end the final 2 minutes due to a series of challenges, reviews, timeouts, fouling, etc. The viewing experience is hampered and officials are complicit in that.
Hopefully, the NBA intervenes at some point and reviews how officials are officiating the game. Players and coaches get fined for the slightest bit of dissent against referees, so influential voices like Matt Barnes and the fan communities can put pressure on the league to make something happen.