Clippers and Sterling Both Dealing with Fouls

Distractions aside, the Clippers are now tied 3-3 in their playoff series against Golden State with the seventh and deciding game tomorrow night at home in Staples Center. That means, maybe first and foremost, that they will have less fouls called on them than on the Warriors, and that will likely mean a Clippers’ win.

Over the first six games of the series, the home team has been called for 26 less fouls than the visiting team, a difference of more than one foul per quarter in every game. The team with the least number of personal fouls called has won four of the first six games in the

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series, and a road team has only won one game in the series in which it had more fouls called against it than against the home team. I’ve written previously about the horrible officiating on the part of NBA referees, and these stats, though limited in the sample numbers, do show that refs are more than likely to be influenced by home crowds when they call and when they do not call personal fouls. With close game after close game, in this series and throughout the playoffs so far, a single foul call can decide a game. Whether or not that foul IS called cannot be determined by where the game is being played.

As to Sterling, the announcement that he is suffering from cancer is one personal foul that he is dealing with, but another concerns the statements from various sources that if he is still the owner of the team next season, that it could lead to a player boycott. As NBA rules are both unclear and untested by any court ruling regarding the right they believe that they

have to terminate franchise ownership, Sterling is certainly within his rights to sue to attempt to overturn the NBA’s pending edict. Players need to understand that the league is absolutely doing all it can to rid themselves and the Clippers of any connection to Sterling, and that they need to be patient for a final determination as to what the league can or cannot do.

Former star player and now popular TV analyst Charles Barkley has stated that players will not play next season if Sterling is still the Clippers’ owner at the start of next season.

This is short-sighted and misplaced thinking. Assuming the NBA owners’ vote goes as anticipated, there is no more that the league can do – the issue will be in the hands of the courts, and justice is slow. It has been estimated that litigation on this issue could well take years to be finalized, and the players need to understand all that, and not act out of emotion. What can be done is being done, and everyone concerned needs to be patient, even the people who are clamoring to buy the team.

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