Sixers vs. Hawks: Philly could see more referee issues in Game 2

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Sixers may see more ref issues in Game 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Doc Rivers and Ben Simmons didn’t like the way the Sixers' Game 1 loss to the Hawks was officiated Sunday. Chances are they’re really not going to like how Game 2 will be.

The crew chief for Game 2 against the Hawks is Scott Foster, a 27-year veteran official. He does not have the most sterling reputation among NBA players.

Five years ago, the L.A. Times conducted an anonymous survey with nearly three dozen NBA players, asking their opinion on the best, and worst NBA referees.

Foster received 24 votes for worst referee, 10 more than the next worst, in the opinion of the players. More than 2/3 of the players surveyed thought Foster was not just subpar, but the worst in the game.

Here are some of the players’ anonymous thoughts on Foster:

“He had one of our playoff games and as soon as he walked in, I was like, ‘This game is over.’ We all knew we were going to get bad calls, and we did. You couldn’t say anything to him. Hell, I don’t think you could even look at him.”

“You can’t talk to him. He’s never wrong. I like refs where they say, ‘You know what, I made a mistake. I saw it at halftime. You were right.’ But Scott Foster thinks he never makes a mistake.”

Being a professional official or umpire is one of the most thankless jobs in sports, if not the world. The only reason anyone knows your name is if you made a significant, game-altering error in judgement. 

Rivers and Simmons both said after Game 1 that they are hopeful that the refs let the game breathe a bit, and let the players determine the outcome of the game. It doesn’t look like tonight will be one of those games. Also on the crew with Foster is Tony Brothers, another long-time NBA official who, like Foster, adores the sound of his own whistle.

According to the Twitter account @NBARefStats, Foster and Brothers rank second and fourth, respectively, for most personal fouls called per 48 minutes. 

Foster and Brothers are the two most-tenured officials in the NBA, so I guess that’s something, right? But have you ever heard of an NBA referee getting fired for being bad at their job? I can’t remember any.

One more alarming stat: in playoff games officiated by Foster, the Sixers are 3-8 all-time. In games officiated by Brothers, they’re 2-8. Yikes.