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NBA aims to address tensions over officiating

Monty McCutchen (R) is taking over as head of referee development to “work on additional training for our officials so they can deal with those difficult circumstances” of increased scrutiny, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said © Getty/AFP/File / Christian Petersen

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 12 – With tensions between players and officials making news, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday the league has “doubled down” on training for referees.

Addressing the media at the Boston Celtics’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers at London’s O2 Arena, Silver said that despite player concerns the league hadn’t found significant changes in how games are being called.

“Nothing has really changed other than just there’s so much more scrutiny than there used to be,” Silver said. “Every bit of audio is captured now. Every single moment that happens on the floor is captured in high definition video. It’s amplified in ways we didn’t see historically. There really are no private moments.”

But Silver said the league was taking steps to prepare officials for that scrutiny, and the high pressure situations it brings.

“We have doubled down on our training of our officials,” he said, adding that top-rated officials Monty McCutchen is taking over as head of referee development in part to “work on additional training for our officials so they can deal with those difficult circumstances”.

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul became the latest star player to voice displeasure after receiving a technical foul from referee Scott Foster in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I got a tech tonight,” Paul told reporters. “Scott Foster at his finest. He just never fails.”

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was fined $25,000 earlier this month for his criticism of officiating after receiving his 11th technical foul of the season.

Green charged that officials “ruining the game” by targeting particular players.

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But officials have been also been in the spotlight after high profile players including LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were tossed from games.

A meeting between officials and players during the All-Star break has been planned in hopes of resolving some of the differences.

“It’s not about amping up the fines,” Silver said. “It’s about improving the relationships.”

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