The game was over in any way that mattered. The Rockets were down nine to the Bucks with 48.1 seconds
remaining, but Houston was not giving up. They pressured the ball looking for a steal as Milwaukee brought the ball up court and Dillon Brooks deflected a Khris Middleton pass that started to go out of bounds. Both players went after it.
Brooks saved it but Pat Connaughton grabbed the toss in bounds, and that’s when Brooks and Rockets coach Ime Udoka lost it — they felt Middleton pushed Brooks and wanted a foul called, giving them free throws and the chance to cut the lead to seven with 38.9 seconds left. Instead, Brooks was given a technical for flopping. He was ejected for a second technical for arguing the call, and Udoka was ejected when he walked on the court to object to the call as well.
Brooks was already angry with the officiating due to an earlier call, where a review overturned a defensive foul by Connaughton into an offensive one on Brooks. Then the play at the end of the game had Brooks bubbling over.
In what seems to be a daily occurrence now — something the NBA needs to take as a sign about their thin-skinned younger officials — a pool reporter spoke to the crew chief about the incident after the game. This time it was Bill Kennedy speaking for the referees.
“Brooks was assessed his first technical foul for disrespecting a game official using profanity. By rule the play was stopped at the 38.9 as we deemed that as the first neutral opportunity following the flopping violation.”
From the camera angle above, maybe Middleton got away with a little push, but Brooks and Udoka, desperate to try and win, lost it. Brooks will pay a fine to the league for his postgame comments, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
“(It was) about the call,” Brooks said. “I’m sick of refs being right in front of the play and not making calls, and then compiling it with a bailout call like a flop. I ran full speed to get the ball after I made a great play on trying to get a steal. Two hands are on me. After that, I’m throwing the ball and trying to protect myself and not falling into whatever that was, into the fans or the bottom of the floor.
“I’m trying to protect myself and then on top that, he wants to call a flop with a minute left. That doesn’t make sense. Make calls during the game while the game is going on, but not trying to get something off. It’s unacceptable for me. That ref shouldn’t even be reffing our games, for real.”
Udoka could see a fine as well.
“It was a blatant missed push out of bounds on that call, obviously,” Udoka said. “But the same ref (Suyash Mehta) is missing the same calls throughout the game, calling it very quickly or tight on other plays. Yeah, it was that specific play, but it was a ton of missed calls throughout.”
Mehta is a third-year NBA official, fitting with the data Tom Haberstroh put forth in his substack The Finder that most of the questionable ejections and calls this season have come with inexperienced NBA referees. The league has seen a lot of turnover in veteran officials in the past decade and a younger generation of referees are coming in, learning on the job (as happens at any job) but with a much quicker trigger for technicals.
Expect Brooks for sure and probably Udoka to get hit with fines in the next 24-48 hours.
Source: Yahoo Sports