C's must be conscious of delay of game calls

C's must be conscious of delay of game calls
October 22, 2013, 5:15 pm
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MarShon Brooks scored 27 points in his first game for the Maine Red Claws.

(AP Photo)

WALTHAM, Mass. — In an effort to make sure teams on offense are not denied an opportunity to in-bound the ball after an opponent's score, the NBA has cracked down by calling a lot of delay-of-game penalties.

"It's breaking a habit a lot of people have done for a lot of years," Celtics coach Brad Stevens told CSNNE.com. "We'll get over that."

The Boston Celtics have been among the more penalized teams via the delay-of-game call in the preseason, having been called for it almost a dozen times which includes five against New York in Manchester, N.H. on Oct. 12.

While it may not seem like that big a deal, two delay of game whistles in the same game results in a free throw attempt for an opponent. And for a team like the Celtics with such a small window for success to begin with, giving back a single point for something like this can be a game-changer.

In addition, it has the potential to be a momentum-killer, something Boston can ill afford to happen this season.

The Celtics spent most of Sunday's 104-89 loss to Minnesota playing from behind.

In the second quarter, a put-back basket by MarShon Brooks cut the Timberwolves lead to 34-30. Following the play, Brooks was whistled for a delay of game which resulted in a free throw for Minnesota's J.J. Barea.

After his made free throw, Minnesota scored six of the game's next eight points to lead by nine, the Timberwolves' largest lead of the quarter.

There's no disputing that after Brooks' basket, he did make contact with the ball. But whether it was enough to warrant a delay of game call is what is in question; that is, by just about everyone except the NBA and its officials.

"Sometimes it's accidental," Boston's Gerald Wallace said of the ball touching a player's hand. "I think it should be a judgement call for the referees and not every time the ball touches your hand."

Brad Stevens knows this is yet another thing that's on his growing list of things to-do.

"At the end of the day, you can't touch the ball coming out of the net," Stevens told CSNNE.com.

It hasn't been something the Celtics talk about frequently, but it is something that Stevens is acutely aware of as something he has to discuss some with his players.

"You mention it," Stevens said. "You try to change it. We've gone down in the number of delay game calls, but we gotta change."

And there are more changes, much more important ones, that have to be dealt with as well.

"There's a lot of fish to fry," Stevens said. "That will be one, but we have a lot of things to work on."