Weaver was incensed all three referees had missed Kings import Jae’Sean Tate being pushed in the back by Melbourne’s Dillon Stith as Tate attempted to screen for Casper Ware in the final seconds of the half.
“I have a ton of respect for Scott Butler who runs officiating for the NBL and for Vaughan Mayberry, Jon Chapman and Craig Copes (the three referees) but there was a build up over the course of the half,” Weaver said.
“Something I know from studying the league and talking to some of those guys is something that has been an issue is how road teams are officiated.
“I felt like it tipped over the line where an accumulation of illegal screens and plays like that that are dangerous for the players were going against us.
“I tried to talk to the officials. They have the audio if they want to use it. I feel like I wasn’t getting heard and I felt like in that moment that it was so obvious, so clear out there in the middle of the court that there was no other recourse than for me to draw attention to ti.
“The fact they gave me a technical foul for it made me lose my cool.”
Melbourne United captain Chris Goulding has worked closely with Weaver for several years as part of the Australian Boomers where Weaver is an assistant coach.
“He’s one of the coolest, kind-hearted dudes you will see going around,” Goulding said.
“I hadn’t seen that side of him but it was kind of cool as well.”
Weaver was asking officials to stop the pushing and holding he felt was being let go. He was also unhappy his side was regularly driving to the hoop but only shot two free throws for the half. They would shoot 24 free throws in the second half after Weaver was ejected.
“We shoot more shots at the rim than any team in the league by a good bit and to this point we are the sixth or seventh least frequent visitors to the free throw line per possession,” Weaver said.
“These guys are putting their bodies on the line and relentlessly attacking the basket, some of that is due to me begging them to do it so I feel an obligation that they need to be protected.
“On that play I probably over-reacted, I certainly over-reacted but the context of what led to that play and my conversations with those officials and with Scott in previous days was what put me in that mindset.”
Weaver knows he went too far but his complaints mirror those from coaches and key players around the NBL for many years, although referees don’t have crowds like the 10,300 who watched this game to work in front of during the off-season when they officiate the NBL 1 competition or various state leagues. That makes it hard for them to improve their performance under that level of noise.
“That’s what we are all invested in. Making the game great,” Weaver said.
“The texts I got from my Boomers friends who have had their own experiences.
“Everyone wants the NBL to be great. From the officials to the ownership, to coaches, to players we are all invested in this thing. The emotion is part of it but it does feel like we have room to grow.”
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.