The Golden State Warriors lost on Christmas Day to the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers 109-108.
If that loss was not enough, on Monday a report on the last two minutes of the game released by the NBA said the referees in the game missed two calls during the final two minutes of regulation.
The report said that with 1:43 remaining in the game, Cleveland’s LeBron James deliberately hung onto the rim following a dunk and should have received a technical foul as the player was on the rim for almost 3 full seconds.
That dunk was part of Cleveland’s 29-14 run over the final 9-plus minutes of the final quarter that gave them the 1-point victory.
During the telecast of the game, a commentator with ESPN Mark Jackson a former player and coach said a technical foul should have been called, which would have slowed Cleveland’s momentum
Golden State had been called for a technical when its forward Draymond Green had hung on the rim only five days prior in a game against Utah.
Green protested James hanging on the rim Sunday, but to no avail. Following the game, players and coaches complained of a lack of consistency on the part of officials.
In another incident, with 3 second remaining in the game and Golden State down to their final shot after a basket by Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant fell down with some help from Richard Jefferson of the Cavaliers and had to throw the ball while on the floor out of desperation.
The NBA report indicated that a foul should have been assessed on Jefferson for tripping Durant.
Of course, those two non-calls did not lose the game for Golden State as they turned the ball over an incredible 19 times.
Players and coaches have voiced significant concern over how calls or non-calls have affected games during the final few minutes of regulation.
The NBA last two minutes report is a way of trying to correct some of that by putting the officials on the hot seat, while at the same time trying to show the fans and teams that the game is officiated by humans and errors can occur the same as players commit errors during the course of a game.
Golden State will host Cleveland January 16 in the last head-to-head battle between the two during the regular season. The Warriors should worry more about how to stop the Cavaliers than how officials call the game.