2018: Less Basketball, More Fights


Photo via NBC Sports

Jacob Guttman , Staff Writer

Tensions have been high between NBA players as fists have been thrown, jerseys ripped, and suspensions given.  The ultimate relationship between refs and players is at an all-time low. 

As star players have gotten in the mix, maybe it makes games more interesting.  Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant is slowly developing into a classic as things heat up in every Warriors Thunder matchup. 

Aside from ongoing beefs, physical altercations during games have become regular.  In the second quarter of a Magic and Timberwolves contest, Magic guard Arron Afflalo threw a haymaker punch at Timberwolves’ Nemanja Bjelica.  Bjelica went on to put Afflalo into a headlock and as a result, both players were fined; however, Afflalo was suspended for two games. 

All stars Draymond Green and Bradley Beal got into it one night.  A dirty play turned into a Warriors vs. Wizards brawl in which two Wizards violated and NBA rule in leaving their bench.  All in all, it resulted in Green’s ejection and a fine for both them.  It also included suspensions for both Markeiff Morris and Carrick Felix who left the Wizards’ bench during the altercation. 

These continuous clashes between players has affected the refs too.  The NBA community has grown a hatred for refs as they’ve been very aggressive with technical fouls and ejections.  D’Angelo Russell, who was sitting out with a knee injury appeared to be mockingly clapping at a ref after a call.  This seemed to be casual effort at getting in the ref’s face in clean way. However, referee Brian Forte didn’t hesitate to issue a technical foul to the inactive player. 

There has been no call-to-action in regards to fights.  In December, the NBA referee association met to discuss the ongoing problems, but even since then the relationship between players and refs has only gotten worse. 

With referees becoming trigger-happy with technical fouls, you’d think it would keep players in check.  This is not the case.  Players are still walking all over refs, with no relent, regardless of the punishments of their actions. Past that, there’s nothing the association can do.  The players have to comply to their league’s rules, or the penalty with have to be much more severe. 

As things heat up and teams prepare for the playoffs, the competition will become more demanding.  We should expect to see more brawls and beefs, but does it keep the league more interesting?