The NBA’s Last-Two Minute report indicated Curry should have fouled out Sunday before he was able to hit a crucial shot for Golden State in the final minute. It also asserted that referees were correct in not blowing a whistle on teammate Draymond Green for a shooting foul on a missed shot by Harden.
Harden expressed unhappiness after the game, a 104-100 Warriors win.
“I just want a fair chance, man," he said. "Call the game how it’s supposed to be called, and that’s it. I’ll live with the results.”
A major point of angst for Harden and his team were several instances when officials declined to call “landing zone” fouls on three-point attempts. Green benefited from such a no-call with 10.1 seconds left, when he and Harden collided in the air. But the league subsequently found that on the play, the Golden State forward “jumps in front of Harden and would have missed him if Harden hadn’t extended his legs.”
NBA officiating executive Joe Borgia on Sunday explained the difference between that play and one earlier in the game — when Borgia said the Warriors’ Klay Thompson should have been whistled for a foul on Harden — was that Thompson was “not allowed to jump toward the jump shooter and take away what would be that jump shooter’s landing area, basically under normal circumstances.”
The Last-Two Minute report did cite three other moments during that span when fouls should have been called and were not. All of instances benefited the Warriors — and Curry, in particular.
Curry was said to have moved into Harden’s path with 1:10 remaining, causing contact that forced the latter to go out of bounds, but Harden instead was ruled to have committed a turnover. With 5.2 seconds left, according to the NBA, Curry impaired Eric Gordon’s “ability to secure the ball” by making contact with the Houston guard’s arm, but no whistle was blown.
Either foul call could have potentially helped the Rockets but the first was especially harmful to Houston, as Curry was able to stay on the court and make a three-pointer with 26 seconds left that pushed his team’s lead to 103-98. Immediately after the second no-call on Curry, Gordon was whistled for stepping out of bounds, causing Paul to argue vehemently with referee Josh Tiven.
In handing Paul a $35,000 fine Monday, the NBA said the veteran guard was guilty of “aggressively confronting and recklessly making contact with a game official.” He did not get a suspension.
Paul was given a technical foul during the game and was ejected because it was his second of the game. Curry made an ensuing free throw.
Houston’s sense of grievance Sunday may well have been exacerbated by coming into the series already feeling unfairly treated in postseason showdowns with Golden State. Following last year’s ouster by the Warriors in the Western Conference finals, per reports Monday by the Athletic and ESPN, the Rockets obtained the NBA’s full officiating reports for each game of the series.
Sources told the Athletic that missed calls cost Houston a total of 93 net points, including 18 in Game 7, which the Rockets lost by nine.
Houston officials presented their findings to the NBA, according to ESPN.
“As we told the Rockets, we do not agree with their methodology," a league spokesman said to network.
On Monday, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said that reports of Houston’s unhappiness over officiating, both past and present, were “disappointing, because the focus should be on two teams who have played extremely hard.”
After pantomiming an attempt to get a foul call with an obvious flop, he added that today’s NBA is “very difficult to officiate” in part because “a lot of players have gotten really good at deception,” including “creating contact” and “falling down on three-point shots.”
“Every coach in the league will tell you, you watch the tape afterward and you think, ‘Man, we got screwed,’ ” Kerr told reporters. “The reality is, you get some, you lose some, and refs do the best job they can, and you move on to the next game. So I’m disappointed that this has become the whole narrative, when it really should be about two great teams competing against each other.”
Read more from The Post: