Between flagrant foul reviews, overturned calls and Last Two Minute Reports, officiating has been a topic of conversation throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
When officiating is the topic of conversation, veteran NBA crew chief Scott Foster is typically the first official to get mentioned. In recent years, Foster has been one of the more infamous NBA officials in basketball spaces, with trends and statistics suggesting that when Foster officiates, playoff series tend to get extended and life gets a little more difficult for Chris Paul.
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Is that truly the case?
While sometimes numbers are far too much to ignore, it can be difficult to discern whether or not there truly is any correlation.
Let’s take a closer look.
Who is Scott Foster?
Foster has been an NBA official since the 1994-95 season and has officiated exactly 1,700 regular season games over the course of his 28-year career.
As one of the most experienced active NBA officials, Foster has called 14 NBA Finals series, including his work as a crew chief during the 2021 NBA Finals between the Bucks and Suns.
Foster officiated 43 games during the 2021-22 regular season and has been a mainstay on crews throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
The veteran crew chief recently made headlines after crossing paths with Grammy-nominated rap artist Jack Harlow. The fun exchange resulted in Harlow’s acknowledgment and an official referee music video (seriously), but fans’ relationship with and knowledge of Foster goes beyond the fun viral moments.
Scott Foster NBA Playoff history
This postseason, Foster’s reputation for extending playoff series came back to light due to a few Twitter users.
As the 76ers held a 3-0 series lead over the Raptors in the opening round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, it was announced that Foster would be officiating Game 4. In response, fans quickly pointed out that when Foster officiates a postseason game, the team facing a series deficit tends to win.
Following Toronto’s Game 4 win over Philadelphia in the opening round, teams facing a series deficit improved to 19-2 when the game was officiated by Foster.
Perhaps in reference to Foster’s reputation, Sixers center Joel Embiid didn’t hold back after Game 4, telling reporters that “to me, it felt like (the officials) had one job coming in here tonight, and they got it done,” a statement that would cost him $15,000.
Two days later, however, that record dropped to 19-3 when Foster was the crew chief of Game 4 of the first-round series that saw the Celtics complete a sweep of the Nets to advance to the opening round.
Foster has since officiated two more closeout games and one game in which a team evened a series, bringing the record of trailing teams to 20-5.
Scott Foster’s history with Chris Paul
Each postseason, Foster’s history while officiating games that feature Suns star guard Chris Paul comes to light.
At the time of this writing, Paul is 0-14 in postseason games officiated by Foster, including Game 7 of the opening round in the 2020 NBA “Bubble.”
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After Paul and the Thunder lost to the Rockets in Game 7, Paul addressed Foster by name when recalling a story from the game, acknowledging that his statement would likely come with a fine.
I asked Chris Paul about the officiating – specifically that delay of game call. He named Scott Foster as says he knows he’ll get fined.
A passionate response that includes “that shit don’t make no sense…we could have won the game” pic.twitter.com/w2MpKr3Uyr
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) September 3, 2020
After Paul and the Suns took a 2-0 series lead over the Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals, Foster officiated Games 3 and 6 of the series as Milwaukee won four straight to capture the 2021 NBA title.
Foster officiated the Suns’ Game 2 loss to the Pelicans in the opening round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
Scott Foster’s history with James Harden
Rivaling Paul’s lack of success with Foster officiating is James Harden, though some of the losses came while Harden shared a backcourt with Paul.
After Harden’s Sixers defeated the Heat in Game 4 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals, his teams improved to 2-13 in playoff games officiated by Foster.
The other win? The above Game 7 against Paul.
NBA official assignments are posted daily here. You can check to see the next time Foster is set to lead an officiating crew of a Suns or 76ers game.