Goorjian questions Kings rival's ref call

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Illawarra's NBL coaching great Brian Goorjian thinks Sydney opposite Chase Buford will regret his decision to call out a referee ahead of their spicy semi-final series.

The Hawks beat their NSW rivals on Sunday to leapfrog the Kings to second and earn home court advantage for their three-game battle from Friday.

Goorjian won one of his six NBL titles as coach with the Kings against the Hawks in 2005 and has piloted Illawarra to back-to-back finals campaigns since his high-profile return to the Australian league.

The sides' rivalry has boiled over this season, with on and off-court feuds setting the scene "like an old Rocky movie", according to Goorjian.

But the veteran coach, who led the Boomers to a historic Olympic bronze medal last year, thinks first-year Kings coach Buford crossed the line when he said "I just hope we don't have (referee) Chris (Reid)" for the clash.

"Chase runs a lot of things that are NBA-ish (that I've learnt from); he's been respectful but I'm uncomfortable with it," he said.

"Coaches, referees, players make mistakes; I've been in this competition for a number of years, there's no bias.

"And we have the ability to challenge a call. If you have a problem with a referee, challenge it."

The NBL is yet to announce if Buford will be penalised for the comments, Goorjian admitting he's interested in the outcome and assuming the NBL's reigning referee of the year won't be in charge of their series.

"To call one out personally .... he can't ref again," Goorjian said.

"There's no referee purposely going against teams, and that's what that infers.

"It was a punch that was unexpected and I would think that he (Buford) regrets it."

Goorjian is yet to confirm if he'll coach the Hawks next season but says he's all in on delivering a title to Wollongong almost 20 years after denying them one with the Kings.

"Not in a lifetime and it's been a thrill, absolute thrill and it's gone so much forward since then in the legitimacy of the rivalry and the state of basketball in the country right now," Goorjian said when asked if he had anticipated this turn of events in 2005.

"To make the four was a huge accomplishment; you always think Perth (who missed the finals for the first time in 35 years) and Melbourne so you think 'God there's two spots left'.

"It's hard."

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