The Denver Nuggets lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night, and it seemed that the frustration carried over to their Monday night matchup against the Detroit Pistons. Nuggets coach Michael Malone was on the referees from the start of the game, as his team has the lowest FG/FTA rate in the league and ranks third-fewest in free throw attempts per game (18.3).
Malone criticized the officials and was sent back to the locker room to watch Monday Night Football before he even got a chance to argue with them. In fact, earlier in the game, Nikola Jokic yelled “Wake up” at the referees, which led to a second technical foul for him just before halftime.
Officials have been quick-triggered and thin-skinned this season, which is understandable given their job. But it’s not new. NBA head of referee development and training Monty McCutchen has said that taunting can lead to altercations, an increase in physicality, and more passionate play. While it’s important for players to show their emotion and be fired up, they need to balance that with respect for officials and refrain from taunting or using offensive language towards them.
In conclusion, while there may be some flaws in officiating decisions this season, it’s important for players to maintain a level of professionalism and respect towards officials while still being able to express themselves passionately on the court. The trade-off is better play and a more compelling product for fans.