The Rockets lost Game 1 to the Warriors.
Houston’s other battle is well underway.
The Rockets are working hard to stake their territory in how they’re officiated. Houston’s biggest gripe: Shooters not getting enough space to land.
Though there were multiple close calls earlier in the game, the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report set a line more lenient than the Rockets want. The league ruled Draymond Green didn’t foul James Harden on a 3-pointer with 10.1 seconds left:
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.
Joe Borgia, NBA Senior Vice President of Replay & Referee Operations, explained in greater depth:
The Rockets can complain all they want. They now ought to realize they won’t get that call the rest of the series. The best thing they can do is adjust.
However, regardless of what the two-minute report portends for the rest of the series, Houston has legitimate gripes about the officiating late in Game 1. All three incorrect calls in the report benefited Golden State.
Video of the key non-calls:
Stephen Curry got away with fouling Harden with 1:10.6 left:
Curry (GSW) is moving laterally into Harden’s (HOU) path and that the contact causes Harden to go out of bounds.
Klay Thompson got away with travelling with 51.9 seconds left:
Thompson (GSW) slides his pivot foot at the end of his dribble.
Curry got away with fouling Eric Gordon with 5.2 seconds left:
Curry (GSW) makes contact with Gordon’s (HOU) arm, affecting his ability to secure the ball.
The Thompson travel proved inconsequential. The Warriors didn’t score on that possession and didn’t run down much more time, anyway.
But the other two missed calls were huge. With correct calls, the Rockets would have gotten free throws. Instead, Houston lost possession.
After the final missed call, Chris Paul got so upset, he got ejected. Golden State’s technical free throw put the game out of reach.
These three missed calls don’t make a pattern. Unlike the closeouts on jump shots, they’re not situations likely to be repeated.
But they were enough to potentially swing Game 1, and that matters plenty.Not that Houston can do anything about that.