The video showing some NBA officiating points of emphasis and clarifications to a few media types had just been clicked off when Bennett Salvatore stood.
“Traveling’s a lot easier to call when you get to see it in slow motion,” he said, flashing the same grin he used to good effect while developing a rapport with players and coaches over 33 years and more than 2,000 games as an NBA official.
Now, as one of the league’s referee performance advisers, he travels to arenas to assist the crews working the games — and occasionally offers insight to those covering the games and, by extension, the fans.
There are still on-court arguments and technical fouls and all that, but the NBA is looking for a better understanding among the participants to limit those instances.
“We understand heat of the moment,” said Salvatore, “and we don’t want to take emotions out of the game. Technicals are part of the game, but both sides are trying to get better at it.
“We want our referees to understand the emotions of the game, but when you rush at a referee, you leave us (no choice). We’re in a corner. There’s nothing we can do. And still I instruct the referees (to try to calm the situation). If you can save a guy from a technical, those are great defusing skills.”
Added Salvatore, “Discipline needs to be controlled for the betterment of the game and all involved.”
This season, there has been more attention paid to the freedom of movement concept, with a greater number of fouls being called on those impeding an opponent’s progress away from the ball. Get used to it.
“That’s a work in progress for us, too,” Salvatore said. “It’s new, and if we consistently call it, everybody will adjust to it. If we won’t do our job and one crew calls it one night and the other crew doesn’t call it the other night, then we’re at fault. But we are very vigilant, I can tell you as management, to get that message across every night to every crew that works. It’s going to happen all the way through the season.
“Teams think that we’re going to not call it towards the end of the season, and we are 100 percent on board to make sure that those things are called all the way through the end of the season and into the playoffs.”
‘Back’ at work
Whooooo wants spinal fusion surgery?
“Not me,” said Celtics public address announcer Eddie Palladino, famed at least in part for nightly calls to see just who wants a t-shirt. “At least not ever again, that’s for sure.”
Palladino, whose Clark Kent gig is legislative liaison in the Mass. Department of Transportation government and public affairs office, had been in severe pain, dealing with “sciatica, nerve damage, the whole thing,” he said.
But the medical procedure required coordination with the Celtics’ calendar.
“I scheduled my surgery to make sure the recovery time had me available for the preseason,” said Palladino, settling on a late July operation. “I asked if I’d be able to be back to work in time, and he said I’d probably be using a cane. I didn’t care. The key was being able to sit down for that long to work a game.”
Being behind the microphone on Sept. 30 was important to the East Boston native (as if you can’t hear that in his voice) who’s made the move all the way to Saugus. Beginning with the Celts in the 2003-04 season, he’s never missed a game or team event he was needed to emcee.
“I even missed my youngest daughter’s high school graduation because we were in the playoffs,” Palladino said. “I was there in spirit, and my family made cut-outs of my face and held them up at the ceremony.”
Asked if Jamie has forgiven him yet for missing her big day, Eddie replied, “She’s the biggest Celtics fan in the world, so she knew where I was supposed to be was right here.”
Monday at Charlotte, 7 p.m. — The Hornets have been a whole lot of Kemba Walker so far, and it’s worked pretty well. But it’s fair to say they haven’t exactly played the iron in the early going. There was a win over the Hawks and two games with Cleveland, which they split. After meeting Charlotte twice in the preseason, the Celts have a reasonable idea of what to expect, and if they can keep Walker from exploding, they have a more than reasonable chance at a win.
Wednesday vs. New York, 7:30 p.m. — The Knicks aren’t very good, but the Celtics had to sweat out the final moments to win in New York, 103-101, on the first weekend of the season. With Kristaps Porzingis (knee) still out indefinitely, the Knicks are heavily reliant on Tim Hardaway Jr.
Friday at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m. — The Celtics get their first look at Trae Young. The Hawks are hoping the entertainment value he brings is enough to keep people interested while the club searches the deep end of the pool for another high lottery pick.
The C’s have to hope their Thanksgiving dinners have digested enough to allow them to chase Young and his friends around. Assuming they can, they should be able to start this road trip off properly.
Saturday at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. — The Mavericks have gotten some slick play from their big rookie, Luca Doncic, and DeAndre Jordan has provided the expected rebounding now that he’s finally made it here as a free agent. But Dirk Nowitzki has missed the early part of the season with foot problems, and the Mavs are headed for the lottery again. The fact this will be the Celts’ third game in four nights and Dallas hasn’t played until the night before Thanksgiving at home could help make up for the talent disparity between the two clubs.
Twitter – @SteveBHoop