News » Rockets liking this call Team happy NBA, union close to striking deal to bring back refs


Rockets liking this call Team happy NBA, union close to striking deal to bring back refs


Rockets liking this call Team happy NBA, union close to striking deal to bring back refs Chuck Hayes was not ready to duplicate the kiss Charles Barkley planted on Dick Bavetta's lips during the Las Vegas All-Star Weekend.

Hayes and other Rockets players were happy with the news that NBA officials likely will be back to work by Tuesday's season opener. Hayes was not, however, that happy.

Amid reports the NBA is close to an agreement with the NBA referees union that would end the lockout of the officials - with a vote by the union membership to ratify the agreement set for Friday - Rockets players said the replacement referees are improving but that they prefer the real thing.

"It'll be good to see guys you know that you haven't seen since last season," Hayes said. "Some you know on a first-name basis, some you joke around with, (and) some you want to get on their good side. It's good to see them back."

Whistle-happy subs

The Rockets have had a few misadventures with the replacement officials in the preseason. Against the Celtics, the teams combined to shoot 102 free throws.

Against the Magic and again two games later against the Raptors, a block-charge ruling was called a double foul, with both players receiving fouls and the officials calling for a jump ball at midcourt. In one game, both teams were assessed team fouls; in the other, neither was. That stunned the Rockets , but they also had fewer issues as the preseason progressed and believed that the impasse in the negotiations would be settled anyway.

"That was a new one. I never saw that one before," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said of the double foul call. "I didn't even think about it. I thought they would get it settled before the regular season. It's good to have the normal referees back to know what to expect, to know what they will call and not call. I thought it would get done, but it was dragging out a long time."

The Rockets' final preseason game Friday will be officiated by the replacement officials, and it might indicate something about how long the lockout has lasted that Adelman and Rockets players said they have seen improvements. But they also said they needed to get used to the replacement officials and would have to further adjust if they were to begin the season.

"The adjustment we had to make is that you can't look like you're committing a foul because they'll call a foul," Hayes said. "Some were ticky-tacky; some would let you play through. The original refs, it was pretty black and white what was a foul and what was not a foul.

"The Boston game was one to remember. Other than that, they weren't bad. There were some (calls) that would just blow your mind, or some non-calls would. But they did the best (they) could."

Part of the game

Making that adjustment probably would not have been too difficult a challenge for NBA players. And there is no doubt that players disagree with the veteran officials' calls, too, even if they could not blame those officials' interim status. Still there is a sense that the better officials are on their way back.

"There is a reason why they are the refs for the NBA; they are probably the best," Luis Scola said. "It's good to be back when the level of competition is going to be better.

"If they didn't solve the problem, it would have been an adjustment, the refs to the league and the players to the refs. Over time, the replacement refs would have done much better. They would have improved a lot. They would have been used to the players. They would see plays they usually don't and get used to the new calls they have to call the NBA.

"I don't think it would have been as much damage as people think, but that said, the best refs are the best for a reason. It's great that we have them back."

jonathan.feigen@chron.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 23, 2009

 

 
Copyright © Rocketsportal.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.