This is definitely not going to help referee and player relations moving forward.
The relationship between referees and players were already strained as it is and following Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it’s definitely not going to improve until Adam Silver steps in. There were two pivotal moments during the Golden State Warriors’ overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, two instances which will easily have ramifications for both squads moving forward. Unfortunately for Cleveland, it was at their expense on both occasions.
The two instances I’m referring to are none other than when LeBron James initially drew what was called a charge on Kevin Durant with about 30 seconds left in the game and the altercation between both teams that led to both Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson being ejected with two seconds remaining in overtime.
The Game 1 referees, Tony Brothers and Ken Mauer both explained their stances on why they called what they called during two key moments in the game:
Q: Can you explain what you saw on the replay that went into the overturn of the block/charge involving LeBron (James) and KD (Kevin Durant)?
Mauer: The reason for the trigger is that we had doubt as to whether or not James was in the restricted area. When over at the table, we then are allowed to determine whether ot not he was in a legal guarding position. It was determined he was out of the restricted area, but he was not in a legal guarding position prior to Durant’s separate shooting motion. So we had to change it to a blocking foul.
Q: What did Tristan Thompson do to merit the flagrant foul?
Brothers: From the angle that I had on the floor, as he is coming toward (Shaun) Livingston, his elbow is high and it appears he hits him in the head, when he is coming toward him. So that’s why I called the foul and ejected him.
First thing’s first and that’s the James/Durant plan. The play was reviewed and overturned and LeBron was called for a blocking foul. It led to two free throws, which Durant converted on both, which ended up tying the game. This is important because if the call was upheld, you’re talking about the Cavaliers getting possession while already up by two points.
Secondly, the Warriors blew out the Cavaliers in overtime. That much is indicative by the final score of 124-114. However, the Warriors appearing well on their way to victory led to Draymond barking his mouth too much, which the refs refused to discipline him for. Not only was he running his mouth, he was also seen mocking LeBron during his free throws. Again, the refs didn’t do a single thing, probably because they didn’t want assess Draymond a second technical to have him thrown out of the game.
With about two seconds left, Shaun Livingston took a shot attempt as the shot clock ran out instead of simply holding onto the ball. Thompson foul Livingston on the shot attempt, but it was a rather harmless foul. He was then ejected from the game because it “appeared” to the refs that he gave Livingston an elbow shot, although that really wasn’t the case.
So because the refs failed at their jobs, we’re looking at a potential suspension of not only Thompson, but Kevin Love too considering he left the bench during the fight, which by NBA rules, means a one-game suspension. Most importantly, the Cavs lost Game 1 and might just lose this series all because of what transpired due to the refs’ negligence in the most pivotal game of the season.