Bring Back Jake, Earl and Darrell

It’s a bitch of a game to officiate. I will grant you that. Been doing it myself at the high school level for the last seven years. But…….what transpired last night in overtime during the Celtics’ heartbreaking defeat to the Miami Heat — once again — makes me wish we could bring back the likes of Jake O’Donnell, Earl Strom and Darrell Garretson and their whistles.

That Rajan Rondo could be smacked on the face as he attempted  a difficult layup attempt — with the score tied — and NOT get the call from whichever of the three zebras was under the basket within arm’s reach of the play in question is ludicrous, preposterous, you name it.

Granted, there were more than two minutes, maybe three minutes, left in the OT. But, if the proper call — so ridiculously obvious Helen Keller would have tweeted — had been made and Rondo made the two foul shots (most likely thanks to the offensive “zone” he was in) the Celtics go up two points and the Heat do not get a breakaway slam dunk at the other end. The momentum swung right there and the Celtics never recovered, despite the opportunities that presented themselves.

There’s always been a conspiratorial cloud hanging over the heads of the officials, but no moreso than today. Except for a few vets, like Joe Crawford, Dan Crawford and Ron Garretson (Darrell’s son), the NBA referee corps is a bunch of faceless, borderline competents, just like Commissioner David Stern wants it.  Hell, bring back Bernie Freyer and Tommy Nunez. Save us from these bozoes.

I appreciated the likes of Jake, Earl, Manny Sokol, Paul Mihalak, Jack Madden, Richie Powers, Don Murphy and company when they tooted NBA games and I had the good fortune of covering the Celtics in the ’70s and ’80. Boy, were they good. Never knew how good than in recent years.

The outright lack of judgement and talent at the NBA officating level these days is sad, never displayed more dramatically than in this series — after only two games. Five phantom technicals (at least 3 of them were, in all honesty) on Boston in Game 1, then the “face rake” of Rondo at a criticial moment in Game 2. What, pray tell, will the striped stupidos do the next two games in Boston to make us cringe and call for their scalps? Stay turned. And keep the Maalox and Scotch close by.

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