Oklahoma City Thunder claimed an important 112 – 105 victory over Orlando Magic on Monday, thanks to another stand out performance from the ‘Big 3’ of Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony. Small forward Paul George attempted seven free throws in the game, and had plenty to say about how he and his teammates were officiated over the four quarters.
Players taking issue with NBA officials has been a hot topic this season, with reports that stars in each of the conferences are becoming disillusioned with refs due to some questionable calls over the last few months. Frustrations ever spilled over into the All-Star weekend, with players and officials meeting up to “hash out problems in their working relationship”.
The key issue for Paul George is consistency, and the 27-year-old believes that the Thunder are officiated differently to other franchises.
“It’s tough. We’re so aggressive; we play at the rim constantly,” George told ESPN’s Royce Young. “We’re just officiated differently, all three of us. And it’s tough. At least one of us [should] get the benefit of the doubt. But when we’re on that floor no one is getting the better side of that whistle. But we’re going to keep attacking, we’re going to keep being aggressive. That’s our job, to put pressure on them. At some point it’s gotta work out for us.”
This isn’t the first time that George has raised this issue, and back in November he was fined $15,000 for pointing the finger at officials following Oklahoma’s game with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Of course, George isn’t alone in his criticism of officials. Following the Cleveland Cavaliers recent defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James spoke out about the decisions that didn’t go his team’s way, suggesting officials are more likely to reward shooters than drivers.
“We’re at a point now where we protect the shooter more than the driver,” said James. “There’s no reason I should be going to the line four times in a game when I drive 100 times to the paint and I’m getting hit and slapped and grabbed and whatever and whatnot. We protect the shooter. That’s what it’s turned into. ‘Chicks dig the long ball,’ and that’s what it’s about.”