Phil Jackson takes a shot at longtime combatant Dick Bavetta on Twitter over a James Harden call

Kelly Dwyer

Former Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Albany Patroons coach Phil Jackson has a history dating back decades with 39-year (!) tenured NBA referee Dick Bavetta. Somewhat famously, in one 1991 playoff series between the Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers, Jackson was issued a technical foul for this back and forth:

Phil Jackson: “Hey Dick, I didn’t know you were from Philadelphia?”

Dick Bavetta: “You know I was born in Brooklyn, Phil.”

Phil Jackson: “So why do you keep giving all the calls to the 76ers?”

That sort of cantankerous relationship went on for years, heightened by Jackson’s Bulls and Lakers playing so deep into the playoffs most every year, and Bavetta being assigned many high end postseason games.

Late in Houston’s thrilling, if up and down, 113-112 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, James Harden pulled a move that seemed an impossibility to call correctly in real time. With his team down two, and with seconds ticking away on the five-second rule as Chandler Parsons attempted to inbound the ball, Harden tangled with Wizards defensive stopper Trevor Ariza. Watch:

Further replays would show that Harden initiated the tangle, but as per NBA rules, because the foul happened before Houston inbounded the rock, Harden was awarded one free throw and Houston got the ball back following the freebie. The move also fouled Ariza – who had already hit a whopping 10 three-pointers in Washington’s impressive comeback attempt – out of the game.

Harden hit his free throw, And as Dan Devine detailed earlier on Thursday, Harden went on to nail the game-winner. And soon after, Phil Jackson hopped on Twitter to share his take:

(Seriously, Phil Jackson tweets exactly like my father texts. I can’t be alone in this.)

That’s Bavetta’s call, as he was the closest to the strong side action. I’ll let the comment section go off on the rest.

Keep tweeting, Phil.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!