With the NBA season halfway done, it has already been filled with controversial endings to multiple games. Throughout the years, the NBA has introduced new rules to assist the referees in making the correct calls. From tasking an additional referee to reviewing plays, the league has taken on various measures to improve officiating.
But it’s apparent that there are still some flaws in the system that need to be addressed. Every now and then, the referees make a critical error that ends up being decisive in the outcome of a game. Such was the case during Friday night’s game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz.
Following the game, Damian Lillard took to Twitter to voice his ongoing frustration with the referees. He also retweeted statements from fans that were extremely critical of the league’s officiating, endorsing Lillard’s point of view. And when a fan chimed in to warn the guard about a possible fine by the NBA, Lillard assured him that he had “plenty money” to cover it.
Lillard also appeared in a postgame interview in which he blamed the referees for the loss.
“Three referees out there, and they don’t call that,” said Lillard, per CBS Sports. “I don’t wanna see no report about, ‘Oh, we should’ve called it’ or none of that. They cost us the game. We in a playoff race, and they cost us the game on an easy call,” added Lillard.
While Lillard may not care for an official statement by the league, the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report confirmed what the guard and fans already knew all along.
“Gobert (UTA) makes contact with Lillard’s (POR) shot attempt after it hits the backboard and still has a chance to score. Goaltending is only a reviewable matter when it is whistled on the floor by officials,” per Bleacher Report.
Lillard wasn’t the only Blazers player to put the referees on blast, as teammates CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony shared a similar opinion during their respective media appearances. With the Blazers competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, every game counts as they sit 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
The Blazers remain determined in clinching a playoff berth, although the team displayed very little interest in making a big move to boost their odds, as previously noted by The Inquisitr. With Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins expected to return from injury in the following month, the Blazers may find their top form just in time.