Kings must move on from NBL refereeing concerns: Simon
Import Justin Simon says the Sydney Kings must accept some refereeing calls will go against them as they prepare to defend their NBL title in the winner-take-all finale to the championship series.
The NBL are investigating comments made by Kings coach Chase Buford about the referees after the New Zealand Breakers defeated Sydney and tied the best-of-five series at 2-2.
Buford was fined earlier in the play-offs for criticising the officiating in a loss to Cairns, and on Sunday suggested the referees had been influenced by a Tweet sent by Breakers owner Matt Walsh.
During game three of the series, Walsh criticised the number of fouls paid against the Breakers.
"After Matt Walsh's Tweet I knew exactly how tonight was going to be called," Buford said.
"They were allowed to get away with stuff they weren't allowed to in the first few games.
"We knew we were going to get hosed. We just said, 'We've got to weather the storm and stick together'."
But as they shift focus to game five of the series, Simon urged the Kings not to become bogged down by the performance of the referees.
"The refs, they're going to be 50 per cent right 50 per cent wrong every time," the American forward said.
"For us and for anybody to complain about that, it makes it tough.
"You've got to play the game, control the controllables. It's game five, it's where you want to be, you can't really worry about that stuff.
"We've got to move on and turn the page."
Kings guard Angus Glover echoed Simon's sentiment.
"At the end of the day, we're here to win game five," he said.
"We're not too worried about what the referees are doing.
"We've got to worry about ourselves."
After dominating the second half of game three, the Kings had been tipped to return from Auckland with the NBL trophy. Instead, the Breakers led all day in front of the largest home crowd in club history.
"They were the more desperate team," Simon said.
"We kind of beat ourselves in a way with turnovers, being careless with the ball, not locking into the scouting report. We just let them be comfortable."
But Simon said the Kings had proven they had it in them to respond to the disappointment; the reigning champions did not lose back-to-back games until the final round of the regular season.
"I like to think we respond really well when we're coming off a loss," he said.
"We've got a lot of guys who are dialled in and hungry and we want to compete for a championship."