The Phoenix Suns will be fighting to stay alive in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks have the opportunity to close out the series at home and win their first championship since 1971. As the Suns take the court to try and extend the series, they likely won't be thrilled to see referee Scott Foster taking the floor with them.
Foster will be the crew chief for Game 6, and while referee assignments typically aren't that big of a deal, Chris Paul's history with games reffed by Foster is certainly a storyline to watch. In the last 12 playoff games Paul has played where Foster was the referee, his team has gone 0-12. In the first round of the playoffs, after a loss in Game 3 to the Los Angeles Lakers -- a game Foster refereed -- Paul alluded to his record in games called by Foster.
"If I was a betting man, 11 games in a row," Paul said. "Eleven games in a row."
The latest loss when Foster was the referee came in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, when the Bucks blew out the Suns, 120-100. After that loss, Phoenix head coach Monty Williams criticized the officiating, specifically the lack of balance in free throw attempts.
"I'm not going to get into the complaining publicly about fouls, just not going to do that," Williams said. "But you can look -- we had 16 free throws tonight. One person had 17."
Ironically, the one game that the Suns have won this postseason that Foster has been the referee for is a game in which Paul didn't play. It was Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Clippers and Paul was sidelined due to health and safety protocols. Phoenix ended up winning that game on a last-second inbound dunk from Deandre Ayton to take a 2-0 series lead against L.A.
Paul will try to break that 0-12 streak when Game 6 tips off Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET.