On Monday, the NBA issued a $35,000 fine to Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul for bumping into a referee in the closing seconds of Game 1.
In Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the referees out shined the respective superstars from both the Rockets and Warriors. Many of the controversial calls, and no calls, have been a hot topic among players, coaches, analysts and fans.
With 9.1 seconds remaining in regulation and the Rockets down 103-100, James Harden attempted a 3-pointer to tie the game. Harden missed the shot, but Draymond Green appeared to aggressively close out on Harden, possibly entering his landing zone. The refs didn’t blow the whistle, but it was one of many controversial non-calls that happened on Sunday afternoon.
Fortunately, Chris Paul got an offensive rebound and looked to kick it out for one last game-tying 3-point attempt. As Paul ran out to the perimeter, he collided with Klay Thompson and threw the ball to Eric Gordon, who had a foot out of bounds when he caught the ball. Chris Paul adamantly argued with the ref over what he thought was a foul and appeared to bump into the official. Paul was quickly assessed his second technical foul of the game and was ejected.
On Monday, Chris Paul was fined a whopping $35,000 by the NBA for his encounter with the official.
To make matters worse, the NBA has admitted to missing multiple calls that should have went the Rockets way in the closing seconds. With 1:09.6 left in the game, Curry bumped into Harden, causing him to step out of bounds. According to the league, that should’ve been Curry’s sixth and final foul. But Curry avoided the call, and nailed a dagger 3-pointer with 25.9 seconds left in the game to put the Warriors up by five.
Additionally, Curry also made contact with Gordon’s arm with 5.2 seconds. left, which caused Gordon to lose the ball out of bounds, but the refs didn’t call it. Furthermore, the refs also admitted to Mike D’Antoni that they missed fouls on James Harden’s 3-point shots on four separate occasions in the first half alone. The NBA didn’t address those incidents because their report only covers calls in the final two minutes of each game.
The outcome of the game could have been completely different if any of those mistakes were called correctly. Unfortunately, the refs can’t correct the past, and it’s time for the Rockets to turn their focus towards winning Game 2.