As a Suns fan, there are not too many things that scare you more than these four words: Scott Foster Game 6.
We’ve talked about this before, it seems almost impossible that one of the great point guards of all time would be 0-12 in playoff games refereed by Scott Foster.
What you maybe don’t realize… Scott Foster has been at the top of the mountain of most referees since I was wearing basketball shorts underneath my jeans.
How bad? FIVE YEARS AGO the L.A. Times polled NBA players (anonymously) about who the worst refs were, and the top of the list was … Scott Foster. And it wasn’t even close. Ten more votes (24) than the second place worst ref (14).
It’s not like he’s gotten better in the ensuing years.
According to Basketball Reference, he’s calling fouls at a much greater rate than others, and it’s not just fans who have noticed. Players are aware of it, too. Lots of them.
Paul Pierce probably stated it best on The Jump after the Rockets-Warriors Game 1 in 2019, when Foster made three calls in the final three minutes (and a non-call against Curry that would have been his six foul) that the NBA came out the next day and said were incorrect. Pierce said:
“I had a hard time talking to him, because I know he has a quick trigger on the technicals. If you say something to Scott, and he doesn’t want to listen, that turns off a player. Which he’s done on many occasions. You should be able to have a good relationship with a ref, say, what did I do wrong? … And sometimes Scott don’t want to hear that.”
The big question that more and more people are talking about: is Scott Foster just a bad ref, or is there something more nefarious behind it?
If you Google “Scott Foster Tim Donaghy” some VERY interesting information comes out, the first being that Foster took 134 phone calls from Donaghy from October 2006 through April 2007.
All season long they were talking in short bursts (about two minutes per call), and oh yeah, this other fun fact: Donaghy and Foster talked on the same phone that Donaghy used exclusively for betting purposes.
Donaghy even admitted to our own Big Cat and PFT on Pardon My Take that certain refs are brought in specifically by the league to manipulate a series.
As people have noted before, maybe the most shocking thing about this entire sordid episode is that the NBA managed to convince the world they had a Tim Donaghy scandal on their hands and not a much larger, much worse betting scandal that involved multiple referees.
Preston Ellis recently wrote that:
“He (Donaghy) claims that he was winning 80 percent of his picks,” Tim Livingston, host and creator of Whistleblower Podcast told me. “If you’ve ever been to Vegas and win that much, you don’t stop. We think he was betting with more than two people. We think he was betting with a lot of other people, including possibly Scott Foster. It’s possible he may have been placing bets for Donaghy as well. Having visited Donaghy in Florida, he’s doing quite well. We’ll just leave it at that.”
So Game 6 tonight is another Scott Foster game. But maybe for the first time in Chris Paul’s career, that might play in his favor, because the NBA very much wants a Game 7.
The question is how the opposing forces will interact. Scott Foster absolutely getting off to fucking Chris Paul over (metaphorically of course) versus the NBA’s absolute NEED to see a game 7 in the NBA Finals after a dry dry year where most of the season was spent without fans.
Could the fact that Scott Foster, the NBA’s henchman, is here for Game 6 actually work in Chris Paul’s favor for the first time in playoff history??
We’ll know tomorrow.