BOSTON (CBS) — Brace yourselves, Celtics fans. Monday night could be a long one.
That’s because the NBA has assigned referee Scott Foster to officiate Game 4 between the Celtics and Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals, a series in which Boston holds a 2-1 lead.
The mention of Foster brings up a slew of negative feelings for Celtics fans, most recently stemming from Game 4 of the conference semifinals in Philadelphia. In that game, three Celtics players — Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown — were each assessed five personal fouls in a game that was expected by many astute basketball observers to have an officiating slant that favored Philadelphia. At that point in the series, the Celtics held a 3-0 lead.
In that Game 3, the Celtics were called for 11 fouls in the second quarter. The 76ers were called for just one. Foster called four of those Celtics fouls and zero against Philadelphia. It was Philadelphia’s lone win of the series.
After the loss in Philly, the Celtics have now lost eight straight playoff games that have been officiated by Foster. The struggles have, oddly enough, impacted the Celtics in the regular season, too.
The fact that Foster was the recipient of 134 phone calls from disgraced former ref Tim Donaghy is a matter that is often drudged up in such moments.
Unlike in that game against Philadelphia, though, Foster will not be joined by Tony Brothers. Instead, the Celtics-Cavs Game 4 officiating crew will be rounded out by Bill Kennedy and Eric Lewis, with David Guthrie standing by as the alternate.
Road teams have actually fared well with Foster officiating this postseason, going 3-2 thus far. However, in games that took place after Game 1 of a series, the team losing in the series has gone 4-0 in games officiated by Foster. Miami won Game 2 against Philadelphia after dropping Game 1, Utah beat Houston in Game 2 after losing Game 1, New Orleans beat Golden State in Game 3 after falling behind in the series 2-0, and the 76ers won the aforementioned Game 4 vs. Boston after falling behind 3-0 in the series.