NBA

All Eyes on Referee Scott Foster for Game 7 of Rockets vs. Thunder

Something has to give during Game 7 of the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder playoff game. According to USA Today, the Rockets are 0-7 in their last seven games officiated by Scott Foster. Thunder point guard Chris Paul is 0-9 in his last nine games with Foster refereeing. The deciding game should be an interesting one and it looks like all eyes will be on Foster when the game begins.

Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder an exciting series

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Oklahoma City just won’t go away. Former Houston Rockets player, Chris Paul, keeps haunting his old team. Paul scored 15 points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 to help rally the Thunder and tie the series at three games apiece. He finished with a team-high 28 points Monday night to force a Game 7.

Paul did the same in Game 4, scoring key baskets down the stretch to prevent his team from trailing the series 3-1. “He’s a great player,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said, according to NBA.com. “He’s been doing it his whole career. I don’t know if we’ll come out with the formula (in Game 7) to stop it. He would have been out of the league 10 years ago if somebody figured out how to stop him. We’ve just got to play better. We’ve just got to be more careful with the ball.”

Paul is the veteran presence on the Thunder, but knows he’s not the only threat. “It’s not just me, it’s our team as a whole,” Paul said. “I think it’s because we do it by committee. We’ve been in those situations all season long, so we just sort of thrive in it. When you are sort of on the ropes like that down 3-2, you’ve got to pack and be ready for just in case you have to leave the next day. We’re not ready to go yet. Our team, we have had a memorable season, lots of ups and downs. We’re just going to continue to fight. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Scott Foster has quite a reputation as an NBA referee

Scott Foster is a veteran NBA official. This is the 21st year he has officiated postseason games. Coming into this season, Foster had refereed 188 playoff games. Although Foster carries a ton of experience with him, he has a reputation of having a quick trigger when it comes to handing out technical fouls.

“Every referee has their own personality,” former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce said in a USA Today article in 2019. “He’s just not one you mess with. It shouldn’t be like that because when you look at it, it’s stars — Harden, DeRozan, Chris Paul that he’s getting into it with. You gotta be able to listen to the players, have that relationship. I don’t feel like Scott has that relationship amongst the superstars in the league.”

Pierce isn’t the only one who feels that way. “Scott Foster, man. I never really talk about officiating or anything like that, but just rude and arrogant,” James Harden said in 2019. “I mean, you aren’t able to talk to him throughout the course of the game, and it’s like, how do you build that relationship with officials? It’s just who he is on that floor.”  In a 2016 Los Angeles Times poll of coaches and players, Foster was voted the worst NBA official.

The Houston Rockets and Chris Paul have an issue with Scott Foster

In 2019, Houston Rockets guard James Harden said referee Scott Foster gets personal. Harden has a history with the veteran NBA official and it’s not a good one. “Last year in the postseason, in the Western Conference Finals, I think he officiated a couple of our games,” Harden said. “It’s lingering. It has to be looked at. For sure, it’s personal. For sure. I don’t think he should be able to officiate our games anymore, honestly.”

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, formerly of the Rockets, also has had his share of struggles with Foster. After a game when he and Harden were teammates on the Rockets and both were forced to the bench with six fouls apiece, Paul was upset. ” “I don’t know what else to do,” Paul said, according to USA Today. “I’ve met with the league with him and I don’t know what else to do.”

Paul was once assessed a technical foul by Foster during a regular-season game in 2018 and wasn’t shy about calling out the referee. “Yeah, Scott Foster at his finest,” Paul said then. “He the man. That’s who they pay to see.”