OAKLAND -– Though Steve Kerr surely is not delighted with Scott Foster being assigned as the lead official for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, the Warriors coach did a spectacular job of suppressing his dismay.
Indeed, Kerr basically urged his players and those of the Cavaliers to avoid getting emotionally engaged with the officials.
“It’s a good idea, regardless, in the Playoffs to just keep playing,” Kerr said in his pregame news conference. “Both teams are going to get bad calls. The officials have a tough job. If you just lock in on the game itself and keep playing, next play, next play, next play, that’s what it’s about.”
The Warriors have not fared well in games officiated by Foster. In the two seasons in which Kerr has been the head coach, they are 4-4 in playoff games officiated by Foster and 25-6 in all other playoff games.
Foster’s most recent notable run-in with the Warriors was his ejection of Shaun Livingston in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at Portland.
Foster also was part of the crew for Game 3 of the conference finals at Oklahoma City, a game in which the Warriors trailed by as much as 41 before losing by 28. The veteran official assessed forward Draymond Green with a Flagrant Foul 1, which was upgraded by the NBA to a Flagrant Foul 2 and a $25,000 fine.
There is speculation that Foster was to be assigned as lead official for Game 7 of the Warriors-Thunder series, for the usual rotation dictated he would be in that position. The NBA instead assigned veteran official Danny Crawford.
Kerr clearly does not want his team to be on alert because Foster has the assignment for Game 2.
“I think the main thing is just understanding temperaments,” Kerr said, referring to officials in general. “Some guys may be a little more accepting of some arguing. Other guys are going to have a quicker trigger in terms of calling a technical foul.”
Because of his general disdain for dialogue, Foster ranks low on the popularity of most NBA players and coaches. In an anonymous survey conducted last year by the Los Angeles Times, he was cited as the worst official in the league. Crawford was voted the best.
Kerr concluded his comments by saying, “I know I would not want to have their job. That would stink."