The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George did not hold back on his opinion of the referees in Friday night’s 118-110 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, shortly after he fouled out of the game, along with Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams over the final four minutes of the game.
“It’s just bad officiating,” George said. “I’m sorry, just bad officiating. We don’t get a fair whistle. We haven’t gotten a fair whistle all year.
“Somebody’s got to look into this. It’s getting out of hand, where we somehow just walk teams to the line. And there’s nobody that gets more contact. If I don’t speak for myself, I speak for Russ. There’s nobody that gets more contact than Russ going to the basket. And it’s just crazy. I don’t understand it. It’s a piece of (expletive) being on that floor.”
The Clippers took 46 free-throw attempts in the game, with slashing guard Lou Williams going to the foul line 24 times alone. The Thunder had 26 free-throw attempts as a team.
“We’re giving everything we got,” George continued. “We’re playing hard. We’re getting grabbed. We’re getting scratched, clawed, held, shoved. And there’s nothing for it. The officials just get to walk out, and there’s nothing that penalizes them for not officiating the game the right way.”
The Clippers are first in the league with 28.8 trips to the free-throw line a game, while the Thunder are third in the league at 25.9. The Thunder are called for 22.8 personal fouls per game, fourth most in the NBA.
“Too much fouling,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Our guys are playing hard and competing, but like there is no reason for Lou Williams to get to the free throw line 20 times. We’ve got to know that. And like our guys are playing really hard and are really competing, but we are fouling too much away from the ball when we don’t have to.”
According to ESPN, Friday’s game was just the second in 10 years where three starters from the same team fouled out in regulation time of a game. The last was Feb. 12, 2014 when it happened to the Washington Wizards. In the last 20 seasons, just three teams have seen two All-Stars foul out in a single game.
George fouled out with 3:49 to play, Westbrook had to leave with 54.2 seconds remaining and Adams took a seat with 9.2 seconds remaining.
“To play without fouling is tough sometimes,” Westbrook told reporters. “A lot of those guys like play to get fouled. That is how the game is nowadays. It’s not really basketball. You’re just playing to get fouled to see what happens.”
—Field Level Media