Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr hit back at criticism of NBA officiating on Monday after the Houston Rockets complained of a series of missed calls in their game one playoff loss.
Rockets star James Harden claimed officials missed a series of foul calls on Sunday as Houston slid to a 104-100 defeat against the Warriors in Oakland.
Harden – a vocal critic of the officiating all season – suggested refs had not given the Rockets a “fair chance” during the loss, citing several non-calls on his three-point attempts.
“Call the game how it’s supposed to be called, and that’s it. And I’ll live with the results,” Harden grumbled.
However, Kerr was unimpressed with the Rockets criticism on Monday, and risked stoking tensions ahead of game two on Tuesday by suggesting players were trying to cheat refs by deliberately drawing contact.
“It’s disappointing because the focus should be on two teams playing extremely hard,” Kerr told reporters.
“We just watched the tape upstairs. You don’t think there were 10 calls where we thought we got fouled? I mean this is how it goes. Every coach in the league will tell you the same thing. You watch the tape and go ‘That’s a foul, that’s a foul’,” Kerr said.
Without naming any specific player, Kerr added that officials were also vulnerable to “deception” by athletes.
“It’s very, very difficult to officiate an NBA game,” Kerr said. “In the modern game a lot of players have gotten really good at deception, creating contact.
“I don’t remember people falling down on three-point shots all the time when I played. The game has got so much deception as part of it. It’s very, very difficult to officiate.
“Every coach in the league will tell you the same thing. You watch the tape and think ‘Man, we got screwed’. The reality is you get some, you lose some, the refs do the best job they can and you move onto the next game.”
Meanwhile, the NBA released its “Last Two Minute Report” on Monday, which maintained that a pivotal call Harden and the Rockets had complained about was in fact correct.
Harden believed he should have been awarded a foul after he attempted a three-pointer with 10 seconds left which missed.
However there was no foul called on Golden State’s Draymond Green, with officials ruling that the Houston star had initiated contact.
Meanwhile, the league slapped Rockets guard Chris Paul with a $35,000 fine on Monday for “aggressively confronting and recklessly making contact with a game official.”
Houston’s Paul bumped referee Josh Tiven in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. Paul was upset that there was no loose ball foul called on Golden State’s Klay Thompson with four seconds left in the Rockets loss. Paul was ejected from the game after getting hit with his second technical foul of the contest.
Paul admitted later he needs to do a better job of controlling his emotions.
“I’ve definitely got to be better,” Paul said. “I shouldn’t have got those techs and put my team in those situations, but the game’s always going to be emotional. If I’m not emotional, I’m not me, but I’ve definitely got to be better for my team.”