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Ime Udoka wants his team to stop focusing on officiating and get back to playing its game.
The Boston Celtics coach told reporters Wednesday that the squad is having “too many conversations” about refs and has not been focused enough on the task at hand.
Boston has dropped the last two games and faces elimination heading back home for Game 6, with the team showing clear frustration with officiating in both losses.
Udoka and Marcus Smart were both hit with technical fouls in Game 5, while Jayson Tatum and Grant Williams were both seen consistently barking at the refs.
Al Horford told reporters after the game:
“Yeah, not our best moment. As you guys know, I feel like we’ve been able to fend those things off, especially throughout the playoffs. For whatever reason tonight I feel like it got to us.
“It’s one of those things that we kind of brought it back. We were able to focus back in, but we can never let that get to us. We can’t let that affect our game, the way that things are being played.”
While the Celtics may have been frustrated with the officiating, the numbers don’t back up any advantage given to Golden State. The Warriors were called for 28 fouls in Game 5 compared to 16 for Boston. The Celtics had fair points at various times about missed calls, but there were some whistles blown that probably could have been held back at other points.
Udoka is correct in noting that his team can’t melt down over whistles in a Finals environment. If the Celtics let officiating mistakes dictate their attitude Thursday night, they’ll likely be headed for Cancun rather than Game 7.