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Officiating has made a few too many headlines early in the 2023-24 NBA season. Players, fans and coaches have expressed their opinions, but officials say decisions are more complicated than they seem because their job requires a "fine balance."

One of the league's points of emphasis for officials this season is "respect for the game." NBA head of referee development and training Monty McCutchen recently told Yahoo Sports that their goal is to avoid fights, and therefore sometimes referees feel like they have to make premature decisions.

Last week, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was ejected after receiving a controversial second technical foul during his team's 120-118 win against the Detroit Pistons. He received his first technical after approaching an official and reportedly cursing after a no-call. His second came in the third quarter after Antetokounmpo stared down Detroit's Isaiah Stewart following a dunk. Officials considered this unsportsmanlike.

"When you start talking about taunting, there's a fine balance and I think you're fair to hold us accountable to what you believe that is," McCutchen said. "What we do know historically, is that taunting gone unchecked leads to altercations. It leads to an increase in physicality. It leads to more, to put it kindly, passionate play."

Antetokounmpo's wasn't the only call that raised some eyebrows recently. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was left baffled after officials retroactively called a technical foul on Draymond Green during the game against the Cavs because of something he did in a previous play. 

Green appeared to shove Cleveland guard Donovan Mitchell, but nothing was called at the time. Mitchell retaliated by running straight at Green in a different play shortly after. Officials then said Green's actions precipitated Mitchell's retaliation. That was turned into Green's second technical of the night so he was ejected. 

On Sunday's game against the Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards also received a technical foul for staring down an opponent after a dunk. Former Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers slammed the decision because "it's stupid and takes away from the game."

"Finding the right balance of what is and isn't a good technical foul and taunting is something that will continue to calibrate with the competition committee," McCutchen said.