Go figure: in the most important game of his 16-year NBA career, Chris Paul’s arch-nemesis, Scott Foster, will be the head ref.
Chris Paul’s teams are famously 1-12 in playoff games officiated by Foster throughout Paul’s career, and the one win–Game 2 of this year’s Western Conference Finals–Chris Paul was out due to Covid protocols.
Today, Skip Bayless said on Undisputed that in OKC last season, Chris Paul filed a formal complaint with the league against Foster. Bayless said the two have a “personal problem.”
I don’t know how the beef began, if it’s one-sided, or if it’s even real, but Chris Paul cannot stand Scott Foster. Can’t stand him at all.
Personally, my gut feeling is that Scott Foster is probably just the one ref in the league that doesn’t put up with all of Chris Paul’s shenanigans–his flopping, his complaining, his dirty play, his little tricks, etc. Chris Paul gets away with a lot, and getting away with a lot of questionable actions has basically become part of CP3’s game. I don’t really blame him for playing that way, because after all, he’s a short man in a tall man’s league, and he’s got to even the playing field somehow.
And as President of the Player’s Union and arguably the most powerful player in the league (other than LeBron), he’s probably in tight with a lot of the refs.
But not Scott Foster. And that drives Chris Paul crazy.
Again, my hunch is that Foster is just the one ref in the league that doesn’t let Chris Paul get away with everything. The reason I say this is because, I could be wrong, but I’ve not heard of any other player in the league having this big of a problem with Scott Foster, or any of the other NBA refs, for that matter.
Think about it–in terms of notorious player-ref feuds in today’s NBA, there’s really only one that comes to mind: Chris Paul and Scott Foster. Do any other star players have a beef with Foster? Maybe, but not that I know of. It’s really just Chris Paul.
I don’t think Scott Foster is going to call an unfair game. I think he just doesn’t give CP3 the whistle, and getting the whistle is a big part of Chris Paul’s game.
And now Scott Foster is in Chris Paul’s head.
This is the biggest problem for the Suns: Chris Paul is thinking about Scott Foster. He’s not 100% focused on the game and preparation. He’s not in the best place mentally right now. Sure, he’ll say the right things and talk about how he’s just focused on the game, not worried about the refs, etc etc.
But clearly from Paul’s past comments on Scott Foster, Foster is in his head. Look at this from the bubble, I was able to find the comments Skip was talking about:
Chris Paul is eliminated from the playoffs, but he didn’t leave the NBA Bubble without taking one last shot at much-criticized NBA official Scott Foster.
Foster, who has a long history with both the Rockets’ James Harden and Paul, whistled the Oklahoma City point guard for a delay of game that resulted in a technical foul shortly before halftime of the Rockets’ 104-102 Game 7 win Wednesday night.
After the loss, Paul said before the delay of game was called, he was indeed stalling by tying his shoe so he could get a peek at a replay to see if the Thunder should challenge the previous call.
“Scott Foster walked over to me and told me, ‘Chris, you ain’t gotta do that. I got them sweeping up the floor,’” Paul said after the Thunder loss. “OK, cool. So, I start tying my shoe back up and he still calls delay of game. That sh—don’t make no sense. He just … I don’t know. We could’ve won the game, but that situation … the league knows. Yeah. They gonna fine me. I said his name, we already know the history.”
See what I mean? Scott Foster drives Chris Paul crazy.
And there was a little bit in that article about James Harden also having beef with Foster, too, so I also looked into that. James Harden said this in February 2019:
“Scott Foster, man. I never really talk about officiating or anything like that, but just rude and arrogant. 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? And it’s not even that call. It’s just who he is on that floor.
…. In the Western Conference Finals I think he officiated a couple of our games – it’s just lingering. It has to be looked at….. For sure, it’s personal. For sure. I don’t think he should be able to even officiate our games anymore, honestly.”
Well, well, well. It’s personal with Chris Paul, it’s personal with James Harden.
So Chris Paul isn’t the only player with a public dislike of Scott Foster.
Another player whose game is basically reliant on getting the whistle despises Scott Foster. Go figure.
Now, it’s totally possible Chris Paul and James Harden are correct and that Scott Foster just has it in for both of them specifically. Or, conspiracy time: maybe the league itself has it in for both those guys and sends Scott Foster to ref their games and make sure they never win in the playoffs.
But I think it’s more that Scott Foster is the one ref that doesn’t put up with those guys’ antics.
I don’t think Scott Foster is going to call an unfair game tonight. I just think he’s already in Chris Paul’s head and so Chris Paul won’t be on his game. He’ll be thinking about Scott Foster on every play. “Can I get away with this?” “Will he whistle me if I do that?” etc.
If Chris Paul picks up a foul or two early, I think he might go into a tailspin mentally.
And it sucks because while I thought the Bucks were going to win this game anyway, I kind of want to see the Suns rally and win and force a Game 7. I want to see a Game 7. There’s maybe nothing better in sports than when the NBA Finals goes to Game 7.
I’m pulling for the Bucks in this series because I just like Giannis so much, but I want to see it go to Game 7.
It’s time for Chris Paul to finally slay his demons and win a playoff game with Scott Foster officiating. It’s do or die time for Chris Paul. He has to figure out a way to conquer this obstacle.
If he does, it will make the story of this season that much better.
Honestly, I’m sick of hearing about this. Is Scott Foster really going to be a part of Chris Paul’s legacy?
The Great CP3–the “Point God”–couldn’t win a Championship because of a referee. Come on.
Overcome it. No other great player in NBA history had his career ruined by a referee. LeBron, Kobe, MJ, Magic, Bird, Shaq–they never let a ref stop them.
Figure it out, Chris, and get us a Game 7.