Looking for good refs? Don’t bother with NBA

Alan Greenwood

Remember that worm-eaten chestnut attributed to a hypothetical judge: “If both sides are unhappy it means I must have gotten it right.”

Well, please do not apply it to NBA referees. When those misfits leave both sides unhappy it has everything to do with incompetence, intimidation or a mixture of both.

At playoff time NBA refs come in two distinct flavors. There are those who let the teams play, as the saying goes. Anything short of an elbow to the chops is going to be allowed.

Then there are those whose whistles tweet with every touch, no matter how light that touch may be.

Now either of these would be quite acceptable if they managed to maintain a level of consistency from the opening tip to the final horn. The problem with NBA refs is that consistency is nothing beyond a rumor.

The league itself is, of course, to blame. The NBA has the weakest crew of game officials of the four most popular big-league entities. Public criticism of the officials is cause for fines with zero introspection.

Houston’s James Harden and Golden State’s Steph Curry had legitimate beefs with the refs for Game 1 of their playoff series. But leaving both sides squawking should not be the goal.

Getting the calls right cures all ills.

TIME TRAVEL: May 3, 1949 – Nashua Telegraph sports editor Frank Stawasz took a jab at the bean counters for failing to properly outfit Nashua High’s track team.

“The high school’s football and basketball teams are as well dressed, if not better, as any other high school in New England. When it comes to track, however, the Nashua athletes are far and away the most poorly dressed of all and certainly as badly equipped as any.

“… one of the best track suits available (it includes shirts and shorts) sells for $1.75. At $1.75 per suit, the high school (Athletic Association) could equip a 30-man track team with suits for slightly more than $50. It costs in the vicinity of $2,000 to equip as many football players.”

Considering the time, place and prevailing mindset, it took a healthy dose of courage for Stawasz to light that fuse.

AND FINALLY: One online sports book has released updated odds on various big-league baseball feats. For American League MVP, Mike Trout is the favorite at 2/1 and defending title holder Mookie Betts is hanging in at 5/1.

In the American League Cy Young Award field, Chris Sale has dropped to 25/1.

Considering it all, even 25/1 is a sucker bet.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 694-1248, agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_AlanG.