The definitive history of Chris Paul vs. Scott Foster
The stunning data on the most bitter rivalry in the NBA. What will happen next?
The longest-running feud in the NBA is alive and well.
On Wednesday night, NBA referee Scott Foster ejected Golden State Warriors point guard Chris Paul with two quick technical fouls on national television, the latest of a long line of incidents between the two.
“It’s personal,” Chris Paul said after the game.
Paul suggested that there was even an issue involving his son and Foster. Though Paul didn’t go into details on that, he did say that a few years ago the league stepped in, and held a meeting with Foster, Paul, referee execs and then-Clippers coach Doc Rivers to bury the hatchet. Evidently, it didn’t work.
I’ve been tracking this storied vendetta for years, and part of me still can’t believe that the NBA continues to assign Foster to Paul games considering their long-standing history. Apparently I’m not alone. Longtime NBA player (and Paul teammate) Matt Barnes of All The Smoke chimed in on X after the game:
There’s a bit of a Catch-22 here, of course. If the NBA keeps Foster off of Paul games, it represents something of an admission that Foster is incapable of calling a fair game with Paul involved. If you let Foster on his games, well, Wednesday night’s spat happens — on national TV no less. After the Tim Donaghy scandal, the last thing the NBA wants is for the referee to become the main storyline.
This story is right in the wheelhouse of The Finder. I’ve compiled data on Paul’s game logs with Foster officiating and the results are utterly confounding. I’m putting the information behind the paywall for my paid subscribers because this type of referee analysis takes a ton of work. You can be sure I’ll be doing more of these deep dives in the future.
So how do Chris Paul’s teams fare with Foster officiating? And what does the top-level betting data say? Let’s get to it.