Late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's close win over Atlanta, Gilbert Arenas was whistled for a couple of questionable calls, including offensive fouls on two straight trips down the floor. He lingered to argue with the refs after a couple of them, which Coach Eddie Jordan is not thrilled about:
"You have to have the proper behavior and not react to an official's call or noncall," Jordan said. "He's gotten some calls against him that maybe should have gone his way, and he's verbalized it. He's come close to getting a tech or maybe even getting thrown out. But that's just part of it. He has to come around and be more composed and have a clearer head."
One of the two charge calls on Arenas was particularly egregious, where he drove to the lane and got hit by a player running backwards and the foul was called on Gilbert. The very next trip down, Caron Butler got an "and-1" on an identical play, and the camera found Gilbert to be visibly annoyed by this. Gilbert's take on that call:
"If you are going through the lane and people are moving and people are calling charges on you, that does have an effect on you."
The real problem here isn't Arenas, or his alleged need to adjust to the officiating. It's the refereeing of one Steve Javie. Now unless you've been a close follower of the top teams in the league, you may not recognize this official as being any better or worse than the rest. But after sitting in person at several playoffs and Finals games where Javie was involved, I can assure you that this guy has it in for star players, especially in their home building.
It's not that Javie is a terrible official, it's just that he likes to involve himself in the outcome of the game more than he should. He also has a tendency to consistently rule against the home team (and especially their best player) in any of those situations where the call is 50-50 (like a charge or a block). Laker fans have such a grudge against him for screwing their team over and over again, that even if he's present at a meaningless regular season game against Memphis, you can expect heavy boos to rain down during the pre-game introductions.
So let's not worry about Gilbert. He'll adjust to the way the game is called, and if he just goes into the home games that Javie's working with the knowledge that he's going to get screwed like the girl in the beginning of "The Accused," everything will be fine.