By: Jared Karten
There has been league-wide skepticism regarding referee Tony Brothers and his fairness when officiating the Boston Celtics.
Brothers, a current N.B.A. officiant for 25 years, has been the scapegoat for many Celtics loses over the years, including crucial playoff games.
“Celtics in their last 9 Playoff Games Officiated by Tony Brothers: 1-8 Celtics in their last 13 Road Games Officiated by Tony Brothers: 0-13 In that span the Celtics are a sub .250 team A.T.S. [Against The Spread] with Brother as the ref,” Sports analyst Dan Lifshatz said.
According to current N.B.A. referees, the league determines which games they will be officiating at least four days before the match. With this method, it gives referees enough time to prep for the match, for which they get to know the teams and the level of intensity or physicality they will be embarking.
Following a 22-point game 1 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee, the Celtics seemed to be dominating the Bucks on all levels. However, when the N.B.A. decided to assign Tony Brothers to Game 2 in Milwaukee, N.B.A. fans, mostly subjected to Celtics fans, felt Brothers was against them.
“I had no idea the Celtics stats with Tony Brothers were this bad. I’ve heard Celtics fans rant about him in the past, but I think this isn’t some coincidence. A team like the Celtics doesn’t just go 1-8 at a time where they are one of the most superior teams in NBA. I feel like there has to be some reason behind this because it’s not like this with any other referee,” junior Andrew Hoffstein said.
“I feel like if it gets to the point where we [Celtics fans] feel at at a disadvantage because of the officiating, that referee should not be reffing for our team,” junior Cameron Baker said.
Brothers has been involved in a number of controversial games, including the 2018 N.B.A. Finals. After a Game 1 loss, 124-114, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue had serious accusations of referee collusion in which Brothers had robbed his team of a win.
“For our team to come out and play their hearts out and compete the way we did, man, I mean, it’s bad. It’s never been done before where you know he’s outside the restricted, and then you go there and overturn the call and say it’s a block. It’s never been done, ever, in the history of the game. And then (Thursday) in the Finals on the biggest stage, when our team played well, played our (butt) off, man, it ain’t right. It ain’t right,” former Cleveland Cavaliers basketball head coach Tyronn Lue said.
“To do what he did tonight and come out robbed, it’s just not right,” Lue added.
Back in 2007, Tim Donaghy, a former N.B.A. referee, pleaded guilty to for betting on games that he officiated during his last two seasons and that he made calls affecting the point spread in those games.
Tim Donaghy, when asked about Tony Brother’s officiating, claimed the Brother’s officiating was very questionable.