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In the NBA this season, teams will see same refs more often
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In the NBA this season, teams will see same refs more often

There are 9 individuals who have actually been on the court to begin 4 various video games at Staples Center up until now this season.

Just 8 of them are gamers.

The other is referee Scott Foster.

There may be no much better method to describe how and why the NBA has actually altered the travel guidelines for authorities this year than Foster’s work schedule to this point. He was set up to work a video game in Houston on Dec. 23, just to see the match cancelled when the Firecrackers didn’t have sufficient individuals offered to play in accordance with the league’s health and wellness procedures concerning the coronavirus.

From there, Foster flew to Los Angeles. He worked 4 video games in 6 days, and never ever left L.A. because period.

That just would have never ever taken place in previous years, when the policy normally was that authorities would address least 13 days in between working video games in the same city and 6 days in between seeing the same group after reffing among its video games. Those guidelines will likely return when the world go back to regular, however for now, in the interest of security – and good sense – teams are seeing referees more often than typical.

“It changes things a little bit,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer stated. “But obviously, for safety and our health and the health of the officials, it makes all the sense in the world.”

Referees are evaluated for COVID-19 daily, much like gamers and coaches, and need to abide by brand-new league guidelines about preventing bars, lounges, clubs, public health clubs and numerous other indoor event areas. Minimizing their flight is another part of the league’s strategy to exist outside a bubble in a coronavirus-dominated world. The thinking is basic; less time in the air, less time around other individuals, less threat.

The Bucks saw David Guthrie and Marat Kogut on the team that officiated their video game at Miami on Dec. 29 and when Milwaukee went back to Miami a night later on for the 2nd half of the two-game set, Guthrie and Kogut were back too. It’s not an aberration this season; Ben Taylor was team chief in Milwaukee on Friday and had the same function when the Bucks played their next video game there Monday.

There are lots of other examples.

Zach Zarba resides in New york city and didn’t need to get on an airplane till his 4th video game of the season, after opening in Brooklyn and after that being team chief for Knicks’ house video games on successive nights recently with Scott Wall working along with him in both of those video games.

Marc Davis, Derrick Collins and Nate Green were the team for the Dallas-Los Angeles Clippers video game on Dec. 27, then remained in L.A. to work Portland’s video game there versus the Lakers the next night. Foster had the Lakers on Dec. 25 and Dec. 27, then the Clippers on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30.

“We are working to keep our officials safe and reduce the amount of travel and potential exposure,” stated Monty McCutchen, the NBA senior vice president who oversees referee development and training.

It can lead to some awkward moments.

Consider the case of Utah’s Jordan Clarkson. He gave referee Karl Lane a bit of a shove – it didn’t appear to be premediated or violent – in a game against the Clippers on Thursday, earning a technical foul. The next night, the Jazz were back on their home floor, with Lane part of the officiating crew again and after Clarkson got fined $25,000 for the shove.

If there were any hard feelings from the night before, none showed.

Clarkson got called for only one foul in the Friday game, a charge. Lane was the official who made that call, which in fairness was a pretty easy one. Nobody complained.

“Great way to start to 2021 ! a team win and $25k lighter!” Clarkson wrote on Instagram.

The NBA doesn’t announce which referees are doing which games until 9 a.m. Eastern on game day, which means not many know beforehand which officials are coming to town. But now that it’s clear that some refs are going to have extended stays in cities, at least for this season, Budenholzer says it could be time for coaches to perhaps be a bit nicer to those with the whistles.

Just in case.

“Maybe as coaches, we can be more humane,” Budenholzer said. “If you know you’re going to see that guy the next night, I don’t know, you better be careful and know that he’s probably sleeping on whatever it is you’ve said. So maybe some self-restraint, which is probably never a bad thing for coaches, is more in order considering we’ll see these guys on multiple nights and more often.”

___

Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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