Here’s a number for you: 321.
That would be the number of techs the Celtics have piled up as a team over the past three seasons.
The Celtics led the league last year with 107 technical fouls (six more than Orlando). The year before that, they rung up a league-high 117 techs (14 more than the Suns). And in the first year of the Big 3, they were hit with 97 techs (15 fewer than the Pacers for second most).
Don’t expect the number to drop dramatically this season. Henry Abbot of ESPN’s Truehoop reports that in their annual meeting in New Jersey the league’s referees decided to expand the guidelines for technical fouls to include everything from air punches to arguing a call “even in a civilized tone.”
Referees have been instructed to call a technical for:
• Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.
• Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.
• Running directly at an official to complain about a call.
• Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.
In addition, referees have been instructed to consider calling technicals on players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure, or say things like, “Come on!” They can also consider technicals for players who “take the long path to the official”, walking across the court to make their case.
For what it’s worth, Kendrick Perkins and Dwight Howard split the crown for king of techs with 15 apiece last season and after getting three techs rescinded Rasheed Wallace was right behind with 14. So their absences should take the number down some. But Kevin Garnett (6), Paul Pierce (5), Doc Rivers (5) and Rajon Rondo (4) caught their fair share, too.