BOSTON — Buckle up, Celtics fans. Zach Zarba is the crew chief for Thursday night’s must-win Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors.
Get ready for lots of reviews followed by lengthy explanations. Not to mention lots of missed calls and bad calls in general.
Zarba isn’t really a “fixer” in the Scott Foster sense. And he doesn’t seem to hold a grudge against the Celtics like Tony Brothers does. But he’s not really good at his job and gets too involved in the game.
The Celtics are 11-10 overall in the playoffs when Zarba is part of the ref crew, although Boston is only 1-4 in games he’s been in this postseason. The last game he officiated was Game 2 against the Warriors, a blowout loss for the C’s in San Francisco.
He was also part of the crews in Game 3 against the Bucks and in Games 1 and 6 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals – all losses in Boston. The only game the Celtics won with Zarba on the floor was their very first game of the postseason when Boston beat the Brooklyn Nets at Summer.
That doesn’t bode well, as Boston faces a must-win situation in Game 6 at TD Garden. But with their backs to the wall, the Celtics shouldn’t focus on anything they can’t control. If they focus on defense and take care of the basketball — not to mention some shots in the fourth quarter — the Celtics can force a Game 7.
But if they get too preoccupied with what’s going on with the officers, complain after every no-call, and lose focus on everything else, they’re going to be in serious trouble. It’s hard to ignore a guy like Zarba when he’s on the court, but the Celtics need to focus on themselves more than anything else on Thursday night.