What to do with how Giannis Antetokounmpo attacks the basket — despite the players in his path –has been giving NBA referees headaches for a while now. (Sometimes Giannis goes around; other times he seems to go through.) And James Harden‘s ability to initiate contact that results in a foul call against the defender is another piece of basketball art that frequently fools the refs.
Watch Antetokounpo here:
No surprise then that there’s a Reddit thread titled: “Watching Giannis get away with so many offensive fouls and get to the free throw line every time he’s touched is so frustrating when our guys can’t ever buy a call.”
And it’s hardly just Antetokounmpo and Harden who present NBA playoffs officiating challenges.
The NBA game, especially in the playoffs with its heightened physicality, is proving almost impossible to referee consistently. The players are too fast and strong — and smart — and they’re all schooled in both selling and disguising their moves.
In the play below, for example, from Game 2 of the Bucks-Celtics series, it looks like Jaylen Brown just shakes and drops Grayson Allen with his great handles and footwork. But watch it in slo-mo and Brown’s off-hand tells a different story. Even the announcer says excitedly “Brown shook him.” But it’s more than that, clearly.