Whether you’re looking to complain about the refs or praise them (as we have — no, really), it’s nice to put a name to the number. And of course, for fantasy basketball and sports wagering, it can be downright critical.
Accordingly, here’s a preview of the crew in black and white stripes for the Celtics game against the Hornets.
Garretson, son of hall-of-famer Darell Garretson, started reffing NBA games when Ronald Reagan was president. He’s officiated more than 2,500 contests, and more than 240 playoff and 10 NBA Finals games.
Garretson made headlines in 1996 when Nick Van Exel drew a technical for complaining about a call. Even after at time-out, Van Exel continued to rant, calling Garretson a “little midget.” Garretson issued a second technical and an ejection; Van Exel started towards the locker room, then came back on the floor and shoved Garretson into the scorer’s table.
Among the signature Celtics games he’s officiated, Garretson headed the crew for Game 4 of the 2017 Wizards-Celtics playoff series, drawing criticsm after a very physical game in which Isaiah Thomas attempted zero free throws, despite what Thomas said was “a lot of grabbing and shoving.”
Garretson was also on the crew for Game 5 of the Heat-Celtics playoff series. The Celtics won that game, but lost the series. Earlier this season, he was on the crew when the Celtics played the Utah Jazz (December 15), and the Heat. He’s the third-highest paid referee in the NBA at a reported $127,000.
He’s also been a leader of efforts to improve communication between officials and players. So if you’re shouting at the game or your TV set or mobile tonight, try to show a little respect. He’s a pro, not a hothead.
Key questions for this crew, especially Orr, will be how closely they call contact on the periphery, and especially inside. Kyrie Irving has proven capable of adapting to any style of officiating, as in the Celtics comeback against the Rockets. Aron Baynes always feels to us like he’s getting a little short-changed on some nights — whether because he’s ripped, or because he’s less well-known to the officials from years of spending most of his time on the bench.
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Fouls. Garretson has only had one year, 2006-2007, in which games he officiated had more foul calls than the league average. This year the games he work average 1.6 fewer foul calls per game — close to his career average of -2.0 per game. Orr is -0.1 fouls per game for the year, close to the NBA mean. For his career, Washington is +0.8 fouls over the league, but in each of the last three years, he’s been below — including this season, at -0.3. In short, expect fewer whistles than average from this crew — a little more tolerance for physicality.
Totals. Garretson’s games are running +1.1 compared to the league average for total points; Washington and Orr, -1.5 and -1.6, respectively. Especially in combination with the crew’s foul tendencies, this suggests a lower-scoring game than one might expect. Orr’s games are 21-22 on the over-under, Garretson 24-20, and Washington 18-24. Close to .500, but especially with Marcus Smart back in the lineup, this is an “under” crew.
Home vs. Away. Home teams are 28-17 straight up and 23-20 against the point spread in games Garretson officiates; 28-17 SU and 21-21 ATS in Washington’s games; in Orr’s games, 21-23 straight up and 17-27 against the spread. In other words, combined, they’re a pretty thick-spined bunch when it comes to making a call unpopular with the home crowd. Then again, the Celtics themselves have a better straight-up record on the road this year (21-8) than at home (22-11) — so go figyuh.