The NBA announced this morning that Scott Foster will chief the officiating crew tonight in Phoenix for Suns vs. Clippers, Game 2.
The Phoenix Suns have already lost Game 1 of this series in large part due to terrible rotation decisions by the coaching staff. It’s the playoffs and you’re still going with four non-scoring bench players around Devin Booker not once but twice?! After they posted a -5 on the scoreboard in just over 1.5 minutes in the first half to build a healthy deficit, Williams went with it again in the second half and got a -4 in less than 2 minutes. That’s -9 points in a 5-point loss. That second half stint was especially egregious considering the starters had just finished a 15-0 run to take a 77-68 lead in the third, only for the 4-bench-1-starter group to give it back before the quarter ended.
But back to Scott Foster. The Suns really need a win in Game 2, so the last thing they needed to wake up to today was this news.
Phoenix Suns starting point guard Chris Paul has lost 14 straight playoff games — including the last four with the Suns — in which Scott Foster was a referee. Most recently it was Game 2 of Round 1 a year ago when the Suns lost to the Pelicans, 125-114, at home. Foster didn’t need to put his stamp on that one, though. The Suns did it all by themselves. After Devin Booker went down with a hamstring pull, they allowed a hot-shooting Pelicans team to run over them in the second half for an easy win.
In 2021, Foster officiated two of the Finals games — Games 3 and 6, bookending their four straight losses in the series — and Game 3 of the Round 1 Suns-Lakers series where the Suns went down 1-2 in the series.
Scott Foster vs Chris Paul is off to a quick start pic.twitter.com/xeYdTWYg4x— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) May 28, 2021
Paul has had a history with Foster throughout his career, including as recently as the first round of the 2020 playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul received a delay-of-game call from Foster in Game 7 against the Houston Rockets, something he told reporters he was intentionally penalized for.
As a member of the Rockets, Paul also cited multiple instances of issues with Foster, including a game against the Lakers in 2019 when he and current Brooklyn Nets shooting guard James Harden fouled out, Milwaukee Bucks forward PJ Tucker had five fouls and Paul and then-coach Mike D’Antoni received late technical fouls.
After the 2021 Finals loss in Game 3, our friend, podcaster and occasional contributor SoSaysJ reminded us: In 2016, the LA Times asked “nearly three dozen” NBA players and coaches who they felt were the best and the worst referees in the NBA. At that time, the NBA employed 64 referees. Taking the honors in the “worst” category was Foster, who received 24 votes. The next closest competition for him was 10 votes behind. More-recently, James Harden has described Foster as “rude and arrogant.”
If you like to connect the dots, take a closer look at this article by SoSaysJ from last year’s Finals, where he lays out the damning relationship that Foster and disgraced, convicted referee Tim Donaghy had while Donaghy was fixing NBA games. Yet somehow, Foster is still going strong decades later.
So here we go with Foster again. Sure, the Suns are 2-1 in Foster-reffed games this year and 3-2 in regular season games since Paul came to the Valley but are 0-4 in the Playoffs.
Tonight would be a great night to break that streak. Imagine the Suns going down 0-2 in this series with 3 of the next 4 in Los Angeles and sure Game 7 is at home but we all know how the Suns do in Game 7s.
You might think the Foster-Paul hate is all in Suns fans heads and no one else around the NBA has noticed but Lucas Hann of 213Sports.com posted this after the Clippers Game 1 win.
Clippers are gonna have a role player shooting game and a Scott Foster game. Just need to find one more win beyond those 2 to advance and get PG back.— Lucas (@LucasJHann) April 17, 2023
The ‘Foster game’ is so nonchalant, his own followers don’t need any more explanation.
Cross your fingers, Suns fans. And pray Foster doesn’t target Chris Paul’s team once again, because tonight’s game is as close to a must-win as a Game 2 can possibly get. If you’re still reading, take this to heart: the Clippers are 2-6 in Foster-reffed games the last years, and were 1-2 in the 2021 playoffs (the only win being a blowout).