Mar 21, 2:18 AM EDT

As Monty McCutchen visits NBA teams on behalf of referees, he's hearing plenty of what he calls constructive criticism, delivered in a professional way

AP Photo
AP Photo/Brandon Dill

Basketball News
James Harden had 42 points and the Houston Rockets snapped Portland's 13-game winning streak with a 115-111 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night

As Monty McCutchen visits NBA teams on behalf of referees, he's hearing plenty of what he calls constructive criticism, delivered in a professional way

Blake Griffin narrowly missed a triple double and the Pistons celebrated the return of Reggie Jackson by handing the short-handed Phoenix Suns their ninth straight loss, 115-88 on Tuesday night

Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 41 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and the Atlanta Hawks stunned the Utah Jazz 99-94

Marcus Morris hit a 3-pointer to help Celtics stun Thunder 100-99

Anthony Davis scored 37 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame the absence of second-leading scorer Jrue Holiday to defeat the struggling Dallas Mavericks, 115-105

Kyle Lowry scored 25 points and Toronto used a strong fourth-quarter defensive effort to beat the Orlando Magic 93-86

Blake Griffin had 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and the Detroit Pistons pulled away in the third quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 106-90

LeBron James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues

Joel Embiid had 25 points and 19 rebounds and Ben Simmons had a triple-double to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 108-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets

Oden's Ready for Rookie Season
NBA's anti-gambling report(PDF)
Audio Gallery
Covering the NBA

NEW YORK (AP) -- As Monty McCutchen visits NBA teams on behalf of referees, he's hearing plenty of what he calls constructive criticism, delivered in a professional way.

"That's exactly what we're hoping to attain on the floor, is that no one is asking everyone to agree, no one is asking for there not to be constructive criticism," McCutchen said. "What we are trying to achieve is the sense of how to disagree respectively, how to disagree with an empathy and understanding."

McCutchen left his job on the floor during this season to become the league's vice president and head of referee development and training. With some high tensions with both players and coaches, he and head of referee operations Michelle Johnson have been conducting respect-for-the-game sessions with each team in hopes of creating a stronger working relationship.

He believes the meetings are going well, that players are seeing the commitment of the officials to have better communication.

Though some players have complained that referees won't engage in discussions with them on the court, McCutchen doesn't believe relations have worsened this season, echoing comments made by Commissioner Adam Silver at the All-Star break. Yet it seems otherwise sometimes, with coaches Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy and Alvin Gentry all fined by the league over the last week for criticizing officials.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, whose team was visited by McCutchen before playing the Knicks last week, said the respected referee can make things better, calling him a great ambassador and teacher.

"You could argue he was the top official in the game, but the job that he has taken on is a very important one because now he has a chance to impact so many other officials," Carlisle said. "And the other reason that he is a great person for this position is he's a great communicator. Always has been. He can carry the message to officials, he can help convey the message to players and coaches of the importance of constructive communication, how to diffuse the emotion in difficult situations."

Representatives of players and officials met during the All-Star break and McCutchen has taken the lead from there for the officiating side. Like with any relationship that has struggled, he said repairs start with better communication.

He praised veteran players who have spoken up in the sessions on behalf of their clubs, and believes the discussions will pay off, even if it isn't easy to see that right away.

"What I am sure of is that we are willing to do our work," McCutchen said. "We are willing to re-examine how we can better the game that we serve, and from that perspective that the players' commentary has received a reasonable ear from us. We hear you and we'll work on it."


It could be the Warriors against the road warriors on Sunday.

Utah has won 11 straight road games, its longest streak since the 1994-95 season. The Jazz begin a three-game trip Thursday in Dallas. After a visit Friday to San Antonio, the trip wraps up Sunday at Golden State.

The Warriors, who could have Stephen Curry back in the lineup by then, will be looking to avenge a bad beating the Jazz handed them in the last meeting. Utah won 129-99 at home on Jan. 30, Golden State's second-worst loss under Steve Kerr, who has been coach since 2014.

Utah had won nine straight overall before falling 99-94 to Atlanta on Tuesday in its final game before the trip.


Other upcoming games to watch:

Toronto at Cleveland, Wednesday. The Cavaliers gave up their highest point total of the season in the Raptors' 133-99 rout on Jan. 11.

Atlanta at Golden State, Friday. Stephen Curry could return from his right ankle injury.

Boston at Portland, Friday. The Celtics head west without the injured Kyrie Irving, who's head memorable moments against Damian Lillard.

Minnesota at Philadelphia, Saturday. Karl-Anthony Towns against Joel Embiid could be the big man matchup to watch for years.



LeBron James, Cleveland. With 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists Monday against Milwaukee, James led or tied for the game high on both teams in all three categories for the 51st time in his career, passing Wilt Chamberlain for the most such games in NBA history.


More AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.




Search for AP news  

Advertising with AM1400
is as EASY AS
1-2-3 .
Click Here
for more info.

Privacy Statement  |  Terms of Use
© 2007 The New WZAZ Gospel 1400. All Rights Reserved. Site Designed by Rhema Inspired Inc.