Dan Feldman

NBA: Three missed calls on single possession help Warriors over Timberwolves

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The Warriors continued their march toward 73 wins with a win over the Timberwolves on Monday.

Thanks in part to the officials.

Golden State reached 63-7 after three missed calls on a single possession, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report. The errors came with the Warriors up two in the final minutes.

It started with Draymond Green‘s comically illegal screen on Ricky Rubio with 46.6 seconds remaining. NBA:

Green (GSW) extends his arms and continues moving as he sets the screen on Rubio (MIN) without giving him room to avoid the contact.

Then, Green got away with travelling with 40.2 seconds left. NBA:

Green (GSW) moves his pivot foot on the spin move.

Green missed his shot and Minnesota got the rebound, anyway, making those missed calls somewhat irrelevant. A correct call on either would’ve given the Timberwolves the ball, which they got anyway – though the errors allowed Golden State to run clock.

The key missed call came on the scramble for the rebound after Green’s miss. Harrison Barnes got away with a loose-ball foul on Andrew Wiggins, according to the NBA:

Barnes (GSW) grabs and holds Wiggins’ (MIN) jersey, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

That would’ve sent Wiggins – who’s making 75% of his free throws this season – to the line for two attempts and a chance to tie.

Instead, Wiggins missed a difficult shot, and Minnesota had to begin intentionally fouling. From there, the Warriors pulled away for a 109-104 win.

NBA: Matt Barnes got away with two violations on key defensive stand against Suns

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The Grizzlies lost to the Western Conference-worst Lakers yesterday.

That’s bad enough, but perhaps Memphis should’ve lost to the West’s second-worst team the day before.

Matt Barnes got away with two violations during a pivotal defensive stand as the Grizzlies attempted to protect a two-point lead in the final seconds against the Suns on Monday, per the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

First, Barnes disrupted Phoenix’s offense with an uncalled defensive three-second violation. The violation occurred with 18.6 seconds left, according to the NBA:

Barnes (MEM) is in the paint without actively guarding an opponent for longer than three seconds.

Then, with 14.7 seconds left, Barnes got away with a shooting foul on Jon Leuer, who missed. NBA:

Barnes (MEM) makes contact with Leuer’s (PHX) arm that affects his driving shot attempt

If the three-second violation were called, the Suns would’ve gotten a free throw and kept the ball. If the foul were called, Leuer would’ve gotten two free throws. Either would’ve been huge in a two-point game.

Instead, Phoenix had to begin intentionally fouling, and Memphis pulled away for a 103-97 win.

NBA: Pistons’ got away with two violations before Andre Drummond’s game-winning tip-in

Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond (0) celebrates with teammates, from left, Tobias Harris (34), Stanley Johnson and Marcus Morris after scoring the winning basket to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 92-91 during an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 21, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
AP Photo/Duane Burleson
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Andre Drummond converted the game-winning tip-in against the Bucks on Monday, helping the Pistons keep pace on a night the Hornets, Pacers, Celtics, Wizards and Bulls also won.

Just three problems with Drummond’s basket:

1. Tobias Harris got away with an inbound violation on the play.

2. Drummond got away with an offensive foul on the play.

3. Reggie Jackson got away with three other key fouls in the last two minutes just to be in position for Drummond to win the game.

On the decisive play, Harris did more than pivot before throwing the inbound. That should’ve been a turnover, per the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harris (DET) leaves his designated throw-in position.

Not only did Harris move his feet to get the inbound pass to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Drummond got away with an illegal screen on Giannis Antetokounmpo to free Caldwell-Pope. NBA:

Drummond (DET) delivers contact to Antetokounmpo (MIL) on the screen without giving him room to avoid the contact.

Again, that should’ve been a turnover.

Go back further, and the Pistons used other incorrect no-calls to set up the final possession.

With 1:04 left, officials called an offensive foul on Khris Middleton that the NBA ruled Middleton committed. The problem: Jackson fouled Middleton first. NBA:

Middleton (MIL) hooks Jackson (DET) as he drives to the rim.

Jackson (DET) makes contact with Middleton (MIL) that affects his RSBQ before the hook by Middleton

A correct call on Jackson for affecting Middleton’s Rhythm, Speed, Balance, Quickness would’ve sent Middleton to the line for two free throws. Instead, the Pistons got the ball – only to get away with another foul on the other end.

Jackson got away with another foul – this one on Jabari Parker – on an inbound. NBA:

Jackson (DET) continues to move into Parker (MIL) on screen

Instead of the Pistons turning the ball over, Harris got to the free-throw line, where he made both attempts.

A couple possessions later, Jackson got away with yet another foul as the Bucks attempted to inbound the ball. NBA:

Jackson (DET) grabs and holds Middleton (MIL) affecting his FOM on the inbounds play.

A correctly called foul, affecting Middleton’s Freedom of Movement, would’ve given Milwaukee one free throw and the ball. Any Buck on the court could’ve taken the shot, and Middleton – who’s making 88% of his free throws this season – would’ve been a prime candidate.

The Two Minute Report featured one other missed call: Caldwell-Pope not being whistled for fouling Jerryd Bayless with 12.5 seconds left. But by that point, the Pistons were trying to foul, and they complained no foul was called for another 2.9 seconds.

It was just that type of night for Detroit (and Milwaukee and the other teams’ the Pistons are battling for playoff position).

Kemba Walker slices Nets’ defense to beat halftime buzzer

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The Nets had a sixth defender on this play — the clock. Knowing the Hornets’ deadline to release the ball is a major advantage, and Brooklyn could play to it.

It still wasn’t enough against Kemba Walker.

Doc Rivers not certain Blake Griffin will play in regular season, but ‘confident’ Clippers forward will

Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin cheers after Cole Aldrich dunked against Miami Heat's Justise Winslow during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Blake Griffin – who must get healthy and then serve a four-game suspension for punching a Clippers equipment manager – will reportedly be out until April.

But when in April?

The Clippers have just 13 games before the postseason, and again, Griffin is due to miss four once he’s ready to play.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

Rivers said he was “confident” Griffin would play before the playoffs start around the weekend of April 16.

“I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but I do feel like he’ll be back,” Rivers said. “Just not sure when.”

The Clippers, who are 3-6 in their last nine games, have reminded everyone why they need Griffin. Whatever floor-spacing issues he brings, he’s an excellent mid-range player (as a scorer and distributor), fantastic finisher and helpful rebounder.

There’s a reason teams are usually better with their stars on the court.

But the Clippers found a comfortable style with Griffin sidelined. This slump might cause them to welcome him back with more open arms, but there will still be an adjustment period as their spacing changes.

The biggest question is whether Griffin will be back for the playoffs. (Related: If he’s not ready to play with four regular-season games remaining, would his suspension carry into the playoffs?) It’ll also be important for the Clippers to optimize their play with him in the postseason.

The sooner he returns, the better they can prepare to do that.