When the Golden State Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the series over the Houston Rockets in last year’s Western Conference Finals, it’s was a bitter pill for the Rockets and league MVP James Harden to swallow. The 7-game series included a lot of great basketball and some not so great officiating. After game #1 of this year’s Western Conference semis, the pill has gotten a little bit bigger and the officiating is getting worst, according to Rockets officials.
First and foremost, the Warriors won game #1 104-100 over the Rockets. Harden and Warriors shooting forward Kevin Durant shared high scoring honors with 35 point each, followed by Houston forward Eric Gordon, who chipped in with 27 points in an excellent effort. On a night where superstar guard Stephen Curry struggled from beyond the arc, the Warriors were lucky enough to walk away with the narrow victory. If US online gamblers were using their app from Sugarhouse Casino to wager on the Rockets to win outright, there was enough controversy generated by the officials to in this game to leave said gamblers wanting blood.
Here’s the basis for game one’s controversy. After every game, the NBA issues its “Last Two-minute Report.” The report serves as an analysis of the officiating from every game. The Last Two-minute report for this game identified at three key missed calls and offers confirmation the referees made the correct call on another key play.
The worst of the incorrect calls was made when Curry was allowed to shoot a technical foul shoot after video evidence indicated he had gotten away with two fouls, which would have put him on the bench with six fouls. It might sound like a minor issue, but Curry is a 90% free throw shooter over his career. Factor in another obvious traveling call on guard Klay Thompson and it would appear the Rockets have every right to be upset.
The call that put Harden and the Rockets bench over the top occurred when Harden thought he had been fouled by Draymond Green during a 3-point attempt with 10.1 seconds remaining in the game. The no-call resulted in the Rockets having to foul, giving the Warriors a chance to put the game away. The Houston side was livid.
However, the league’s review of the call confirmed the referee made the right call. Here’s what the Last Two-minute Report indicated: “Harden (HOU) draws Green (GSW) into the air during his shot attempt. Green jumps in front of Harden and would have missed him if Harden hadn’t extended his legs.”
In reaction to the ongoing saga of bad calls involving games between these two teams, the Rockets released an internal analysis of the refereeing from last year’s series with the Warriors. According to the report and based on the NBA’s own review of calls, referees cost Houston 93 points – including 18 points in Game 7.
While nothing can be done regarding past actions, one has to believe this series will intensify as will the scrutiny under which the referees will be operating going forward.