George: OKC's trio 'officiated differently' than other stars
NBA.com Global on Feb 28, 2018 07:32 AM
FILE - OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - NOVEMBER 10: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks to pass against the LA Clippers on November 10, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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To date, All-Stars Paul George (tied for 15th) and Russell Westbrook (sixth) rank in the top 20 in total free throw attempts this season. Fellow starter and former All-Star Carmelo Anthony is further down the list at 58th overall.
Those numbers may tell one story, but to George, there's more to be said on the topic. After Oklahoma City's 112-105 home win against the Orlando Magic, George spoke to the media about how he feels he, Westbrook and Anthony are not getting as many foul calls as they should. Thunder coach Billy Donovan agreed with George's statement, which comes a day after Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said that referees protect shooters over drivers.
Royce Young of ESPN.com has more from George, who further explained his thoughts on how Oklahoma City's stars are officiated in games:
"It's tough. We're so aggressive; we play at the rim constantly," George said. "We're just officiated differently, all three of us. And it's tough. At least one of us [should] get the benefit of the doubt. But when we're on that floor, no one is getting the better side of that whistle. But we're going to keep attacking, we're going to keep being aggressive. That's our job, to put pressure on them. At some point it's gotta work out for us."
George was demonstrative talking with the officials a number of times after driving at the basket with contact and no call. Westbrook, George and Anthony combined for nine free throws, with Westbrook taking two and Anthony taking none.
"Yeah, I do. I do," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said when asked whether he sees George not getting a lot of calls. "Same thing with Russell, too. Those guys are aggressive players, and listen, there are calls that are missed, there just are. He's gotten fouled, and he's not getting to the line. I think the same thing can be said for Russell. And I'm not trying to get into, like, every single play call, but as much as those two guys are in the lane, they need to be at the free throw line more than they're at the free throw line, in my opinion."
George, Westbrook and Anthony are all getting to the free throw line at lower rates than in recent seasons, with Anthony seeing the most significant drop-off at only 2.8 a game after averaging 7.0 for his career. Westbrook's free throw rate is the second lowest of his career, while George's is in line with his career average.
As Young also points out, George was fined $15,000 in November for similar complaints about officiating.