A look at the way the San Antonio Spurs were officiated this past season
By Melanie James
For as calculated as the San Antonio Spurs have been, they don’t seem to garner the same level of respect from officials that other teams get.
The legacy of the San Antonio Spurs rests on a powerful foundation of a winning culture, healthy work ethic and incredibly talented players. This past season was tumultuous: there were winning streaks, losing streaks, a revolving doors of injuries and surprisingly historic occurrences of all natures. Pop made history in the last stretch of the regular season for becoming the most winningest coach and getting ejected during games.
Looking back at this past season overall for the Spurs as an organization versus the officials as they officiate Spurs games, we can eliminate the typical fan allegation of cheating. However, we cannot overlook flaws in officiating.
While the game is consistently evolving as the players do, this change doesn’t constitute the oblivion to core players who still play ball while driving in the paint. Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan’s game consists of driving to the paint and creating jumpers for himself off the dribble.
That’s the fearlessness that us Spurs fans yearn for in our players. We want our players to take it to the bucket instead of pushing for the trending 3 point shot that is only valuable for certain players. What we don’t want to see is our players being fouled without any whistles being blown.
Sure, the Spurs were ranked in the top teams deemed in efficient shooting, but that doesn’t negate the fact that our shooting guard isn’t fouled. This means that officials are changing the dynamics for the skill set that Spurs players have.
If you thought players were the only getting called out by officials, you’re wrong. Our legendary coach Gregg Popovich got ejected in not one, but two games. The worst part is, this ejection wasn’t even in the second half, or the second quarter for that matter.
Popovich’s ejection came just over a minute into the Spurs versus the Nuggets game during the final stretch of the regular season. Receiving a single technical foul isn’t startling, but the second one seems skeptical. Rudy Gay, who is one of our best wing defenders, was called for a foul that was later revealed to be an “Incorrect Call” on the NBA’s Last Two-minute report. Gay scrambled for a steal and was called for a foul.
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Gay is aware of himself. He’s quick, has a 7-foot wingspan and is one of the best veterans in the league. Officials blowing a whistle is one thing, but calling Gay when he’s playing appropriate defense only inflates the ever growing issue. The Spurs do get foul calls, but do they get officiated properly? When DeMar DeRozan dribbles his way to bounce for a bucket and is fouled, but doesn’t receive the the and-one call as often as other Texans get, Is that fair officiating?
Is Rudy Gay playing effective defense but being incorrectly called a simple mistake in officiating or is it an error in the way games are being officiated?
It often depends on the specific officials for the game whether and not San Antonio is fairly officiated. They may try and prove a point due to previous games as seen in Utah with former-DPOY Rudy Gobert. DeRozan not getting calls in one dimension of his game, while it’s unfortunate and unforgettable, is not unforgivable.
Officials are able to penalize the Spurs on and off the court, but the Spurs not being able to express passion for the game, deliver defensive strategies or even be able to offer offensive screens only marginalizes the game and it confines the agility of Spurs players and coaches.