I can't remember the last time I saw a team have four players foul out -- let alone three starters, at home in a double-overtime game. But that's what happened Friday against the Jazz (I'm glossing over yesterday's game for the time being ...).
Beat reporters from both sides noticed the tight officiating -- here's what Ross Siler wrote in his blog for the Salt Lake Tribune:
Back in the preseason, we sat through a presentation on the points of emphasis for NBA referees this season. One of the referees who worked that game and helped give the presentation was Mark Wunderlich, who was in charge Friday as well.
One of the points of emphasis was on eliminating holding on inbounds plays. In the second overtime Friday, Richard Hamilton fouled out trying to be a roadblock for Deron Williams as he tried to get open on an inbounds.
It was the right call, but also a really tough call to foul out a player like Hamilton, who sent the game to overtime with his jumper at the end of the fourth quarter. There were still more than four minutes left in double overtime; the Pistons had four players foul out in all.
At least we did get a Walter Hermann sighting in the second overtime. Hermann hadn't played at all before he got off the bench to roars to replace Rodney Stuckey. There were several Jazz players on the bench trying to stifle their laughter.
By the way, best heckle of the season so far came in Friday's game. One Pistons fan yelled at 71-year-old referee Jack Nies after one call: "Hey Jack, that's why they don't let old people drive."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News was less amused by Nies' performance:
Of course, the Pistons aren't going to win many games when Jack Nies in one of the officials. Now everybody is going to howl that this is sour grapes. But I swear it's not. The refs didn't cost the Pistons this game. The Jazz were the better team when the game was on the line. Take nothing from them at all.
But Nies has long-standing feuds going with both Wallace (who he tagged with his 10th technical foul) and Iverson. It is so obvious that he has major issues with both of those players. Nies is 71 years old. He shouldn't be out there in the first place. I wish the league would look at the film of this game. There's no way they could not think Nies was acting out on his grudges.