Are too many refs the main problem with NBA officiating?
[+notes/quotes/video from Draymond suspension, practice, Warriors-Kings Game 2]
My haphazard write-up for pregame heading into Game 3: I’m working on a hypothesis that NBA officiating could be improved by reducing the number of referees. See, as the events of Game 2 were unfolding, as Zach Zarba, Courtney Kirkland and Gediminas Petraitis were sorting out the eventual Flagrant 2 call, I was wishing the refs were from among my personal Top Five: Eric Lewis, Bill Kennedy, Tony Brothers and either Ed Malloy or Scott Foster as the alternate. Mind you, on our game livestreams we check the refs during every pregame and watch them carefully as we go through each game: Brothers has missed some calls in Golden State Warriors games, anecdotally speaking, so my gut feel is that he’s been trending downward this season — but Brothers probably stays in my Top Five, long-term.
So then I asked myself, understanding that this is the first round with sixteen teams still alive, how can we replicate a crew of, say, Lewis-Kennedy-Brothers-Foster (every game needs a fourth alternate official in case one of the assigned three gets injured) across all the games?
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This brought me back to my “Poor Man’s Commish” role where, for nearly two decades, I was the commissioner of a men’s basketball league called Dream League. At our height, for about maybe five years, I was scheduling games and two referees each across San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo and sometimes San Jose, simultaneously. At our height for those five-ish years we had 125 teams across the Bay, each playing every Sunday; the very first tipoff would be at 9am with the last one at 9p, although we often ran later. It was very tiring, yes.
Oh, and I wouldn’t be able to cover any Golden State Warriors practices that were on Sunday and if there was a game at Oracle Arena, I’d only work two-thirds a day at Dream League and pray nothing went wrong with my staff in my absence towards the evenings. But by 2013, the beginning of LetsGoWarriors, the advent of youth AAU had an effect on men’s recreational basketball and Dream League was far smaller than at its apex. But back in its prime I easily got to 10,000 hours. To this day, I can tell you that a lot of stuff that happens in the NBA, I’ve seen happen in one of my gyms.
I haven’t seen a stomp, though, but given how Domantas Sabonis instigated the incident with Draymond Green, we would have issued both Flagrant One calls — yes, I had actually adopted NBA rules for my league because they are more entertaining (more buzzer-beaters with the stopped clock on made baskets in the last minute of each quarter and advancing the ball to halfcourt on timeouts) and therefore we got easy buy-in from the participants. We would’ve definitely NOT ejected Green. But keep in mind, as Commish of Dream League, I wanted first and foremost to keep my paying customers, the players, happy, whereas Adam Silver is likely to be more in a position of keeping his owners happy.
In any case, I still protected the game so at the end of the day, I deemed what was fair based on our collective love for the game and the participation of it. I did suspend a handful of guys for fighting and one guy I banned for life because he got on top of an opponent and swung, on two occasions; his teammate even called him a “pugilist”.
Back to Draymond: So I was sitting on the livestream, basically shocked that Zarba ejected a player for a non-fighting incident, non-injury-causing foul (Sabonis, while exhibiting what appeared to be great pain at the time of the stomp, later would not only dunk a ball but also chest-bump a teammate, see the Joe Dumars video below).
You can’t tell me a crew led by Foster, Brothers, Kennedy or Malloy would’ve thrown out Draymond. No way. They know the stakes. Btw I know that Foster isn’t the most liked — more on that, below — but I do think technically he’s good, so it’s the rapport part and I always used those metrics to figure out my best refs: getting calls right versus having good rapport with players, preferably both.
My best refs of all-time were probably Vinney Myers (former MVP of the SF Summer Pro-Am), David Doubley (former point guard for University of Pacific’s last NCAA appearance), Tony Booker (former president of a referee’s association — I forget the acronym — in San Francisco) and Paul Bates (RIP, former head of Oakland Parks and Rec). I actually also had Tre Maddox, current NBA ref (!), for my Las Vegas tournaments. Fyi I do not bother Maddox with any of my concerns about NBA refs because it would interfere with his day job and we have a friendship to maintain — on the few subjects I’ve brought up here and there, sometimes he has vehemently disagreed, which is also good information, but long story short, I generally am unable to obtain more data from him even though he has direct access to it.
Anyways, with a maximum of four games played per night, I think there may be a way to have more of the best officials available for any game. And yeah, that’s me saying Zarba is not a Tier-1 ref, even though he’s gotten high marks from The Athletic’s annual poll of NBA players (more on that, below, too).
The NBA has 36 refs manning these playoffs. I opened up a spreadsheet last night and, as if I were scheduling the games and refs for Dream League once again, took a gander at assigning refs for up to eight games per night. I found that 36 is probably a good number. After all, 8 games x 4 refs per game = 32 refs. Getting refs to as many different matchups and on opposite coasts was the main challenge.
But we’re only playing four NBA games a night, maximum, due to national TV. So I have to think that assigning refs the proper rest (no back-to-backs is my only requirement) and making sure most of them are rotated enough and in nearby locales (East Coast vs West Coast) to keep the gambling corporations happy, that halving the 36 to 18 refs is doable. But I’ve not gone the extra step to test this on my spreadsheet. All I know is that if we were to play eight games per day for the sixteen playoff teams, 36 seems like the right number.
But with only four games per night, cutting 36 to 18 would up the frequency of any one of Lewis, Kennedy, Brothers, Malloy — and I do realize my ranking of Malloy is higher than most others — and Foster into any of the first round games. Isn’t that what we want? More of the top-tier refs showing up at any given playoff game. Anyways, maybe I’ll go back to that spreadsheet sometime later in the off-season, to flesh this hypothesis out a little more. I do realize that there may be some assumptions vulnerable to being poked holes at — Zarba not being Top-Tier in my book is probably the most glaring.
I should add that there is the element of parity as well. This is something that Silver seems to be aiming for, and I would say heavily aiming for, if I take into account all of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules that have been tweeted out by CBA experts here and there (i.e., no definitive look into this by a major writer, yet). So if we’re preaching parity, that means the first-round playoff games have more weight because the teams are more evenly matched. The stakes have gotten higher, earlier. That’s what you get with parity. Well, you’re not addressing this with the present state of officiating.
So if there were a Tier-1 crew reffing Game 2 of Warriors at Sacramento Kings, Draymond never gets ejected, the fans never escalate (they probably would’ve flipped him off, regardless), he never has the “engagement” with the fans, Silver never sees that, and Dumars never gets tasked with the unenviable position of dishing out the punishment — I wonder if the mentor-mentee relationship he had with Dray is now in jeopardy?
Officiating remains the Number One concern for NBA players, per The Athletic’s poll: https://theathletic.com/4430228/2023/04/20/nba-player-poll-biggest-issues/
I’m generally in agreement with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic that Silver made this personal, John Dickinson of 95.7 The Game that the suspension decision was horrible (plus a few choice words, although I don’t follow MLB or the NFL closely enough to judge if Silver is, as Dickinson proclaims, “the worst commissioner in sports”), and I believe at his core, Silver does not love the game the way that true hoopers do.
This is a very cloudy area, indeed, and I’m not here to pick Silver’s character apart, but all the newfound tidbits coming out of the new CBA on how heavily taxed teams like the Warriors or LA Clippers (or Boston Celtics if Jaylen Brown stays) are getting penalized, have me leaning in that direction that his motivations are getting away from the passion of this game. He was, after all, head of NBA Entertainment under David Stern. I credit Silver for being a visionary in marketing — that’s not the same thing as the capacity of the game itself.
And I’d like to finally say without going into any detail that if you truly love this game, like, you’d go hoop right now at the local playground if you had the health, you know that Draymond is a unicorn and truly an asset to the game of basketball.
Here are the excerpts from Kawakami and Dickinson: https://theathletic.com/4427370/2023/04/19/draymond-green-suspension-steps-sabonis-chest-stomp/
But I think this punishment is too harsh. I don’t think Green’s previous suspensions should be held against him in this case, including his suspension for Game 5 at Oracle Arena during the 2016 NBA Finals against Cleveland, when the Warriors were up 3-1 but lost Game 5 without Green and then the series in seven games.
I think that Green is getting hit with all kinds of multiple jeopardy here — he’s already served the time for other incidents and now that’s being counted against him. He already was ejected for the deciding minutes of a playoff game, he already has two flagrant foul points and can get another suspension if he tallies two more points, and now his absence for Game 3 makes it more likely that the Warriors will lose the game and go down 0-3. He should be punished at the scale merited for what he did Monday, not at a scale that measures how much he irritates the league office.
Here’s an excerpt from The Athletic’s poll:
• Anonymous NBA player to The Athletic (Sam Amick and Josh Robbins) on there not being any accountability for refs: https://theathletic.com/4430228/2023/04/20/nba-player-poll-biggest-issues/
“I feel like the relationships are better. Refs, this year, don’t seem as ego driven. I feel like I can talk to them. They’re better in that regard. But when the game ends, we get graded on our performance and all that (with the refs) is all hush-hush. If I was commissioner for a day, visibility and feedback from the players based on a grading system for referees game by game. (The process) can be behind the scenes, but it can’t be like every time we speak out or are upset we get fined.”
Per usual, below are the catch-up quotes from practice yesterday and Game 2 vs the Sacramento Kings before that, generally in reverse chronological order.
• Moses Moody on not having Draymond defensively, taking lessons from last year: “go out there and figure it out. That’s why winning a championship is so special because you gotta win by any means… that’s what we gotta do.”
• On what Draymond’s message was: “That’s part of why I think Draymond is such a good leader. It’s easy to be positive… when everything is going good… for him to step up, not having the elephant in the room… address the issue… back to business.”
• On having different guys playing key minutes: “we’ve dealt with it all season, even now.”
• On Kerr saying a lot of players will probably play: “next man up mentality… figure out a way how to win… just make it work, make it happen.”
• On being back at Chase: “we’ve played really well here all season… fans… community… they do their part and we should handle ours, too.”
• Kevon Looney after practice, day before Game 3, on his reaction to Draymond getting suspended: “A little surprised but it is what it is at this point.”
• On Draymond’s suspension adding to his burden: “a little bit… can’t be out there fouling… J-Mike or JK have to play a little more and we can’t all be fouling… we got some guys, Lamb… don’t think my minutes will change that much.”
• On Draymond wanting to address the team before practice: “It is who he is… I know he goes home and watches every minute of every game, probably watched it twice.”
• On rebounding: “focus in on the details… four guys box out, one doesn’t… all five guys… play with force… take care of the small things. We rebound in spurts (and need to be more consistent).”
• On the physicality of the series:
“It’s been fun… playoff basketball… physicality… pushing… shoving… win the rebounds and the 50-50 balls.”
• On the importance of playing at home: “handle adversity a lot better at home… best crowd in the NBA… extra boost that we need.”
• On any anger over the suspension: “I would say concentration… they don’t really show anger… pretty even-keeled… backs are against the wall… play with a focus that we haven’t played with all year… we’re excited.”
• On what the Kings have done tactically: “they’re rebounding better than they did in the regular season… speed… force… physicality probably has been the most surprising… 50-50 balls… especially in the playoffs (we’ve been good).”
• On Harrison Barnes: “what we expect from HB… always fun playing against your old teammate.”
• On any Sabonis stuff being borderline dirty: “I mean, as a big man it’s what we do. I think that's pretty normal. Pushing stuff and grabbing, that's all part of the protocol down here and you know, sometimes they call it, sometimes they don't.” (Kerith Burke)
• On if he’s looked at the Draymond altercation: “that’s the only way to get outta there so that’s what he had to do.”
• Steve Kerr after practice, day before Game 3, on Draymond's suspension: "I was extremely surprised… There's no time to spend worrying about it, thinking about it or complaining, it doesn't matter. We know what the league decided to do and we have to respond accordingly… (Didn't want to elaborate about why he was so surprised)… Again, we just have to move on, and move on to the game. I'll let everybody else play judge.” (Connor Letourneau)
• On his thoughts about Draymond's incident with Sabonis: "Um...no comment." (Connor Letourneau)
• On Draymond: “I've said many times we don't have a single championship without Draymond Green. That’s the truth… He’s crossed the line over the years, and that’s part of it. … We will go to bat for Draymond, and go to battle with him every day of the week.” (Connor Letourneau, Kerith Burke)
• On talking to Draymond when Draymond's heated: "It doesn’t seem to make much impact… He's going to occasionally tip over the edge and his emotions get the best of him… There’s no stopping Draymond. You’re not going to be able to put your arm around him and calm him down. It’s ok, we accept Draymond for who he is and what he stands for because, frankly, it makes us win.” (Connor Letourneau, Janie McCauley, Shayna Rubin)
• On how the team addressed the suspension at practice today: “Draymond was at practice. He addressed the team… We spent about a minute on it, then moved on.” There will be more on Looney, Kuminga, JaMychal Green, and Lamb for size. (Connor Letourneau, Janie McCauley)
• On Jordan Poole, who was good at practice today, but really gutted it out in Game 2 with his sprained left ankle: “I was really proud of him for playing the other night. His ankle was really swollen. Not pretty…I know it wasn’t a great game for him but his attitude and approach was fantastic. He will be rewarded for how he’s handled the last few days. Frankly, a lot of people wouldn't have played.” (Dalton Johnson, Shayna Rubin, Tim Kawakami)
• Steve Kerr later after practice, say before Game 3, to KNBR on how they’ll replace Draymond’s minutes: https://www.knbr.com/2023/04/20/steve-kerr-discusses-draymond-suspension-how-theyll-replace-his-minutes-on-knbr/
“We got a lot of options,” Kerr said. “We got a lot of guys who played good minutes for us this year, whether it’s [Jonathan] Kuminga, [Anthony] Lamb, JaMychal [Green] on the front line, those guys all have played really well for us. We’re going to have to make up for some of what we’re going to miss with Draymond size-wise and physicality-wise so there’s no question.
“I think you just kind of have to let the game unfold and we have to be willing to go whatever route we’re feeling. If a group finds a good groove we ride them. I don’t think we can go in with a set rotation pattern and follow it by rote, I think we’ve got to go in with a lot of flexibility and a lot of possibilities and try to find combinations that work.”
• Bob Myers after Warriors practice, day before Game 3, on Draymond's suspension: "I spoke to Draymond last night about it. Told him that, when he shows up today, it’s got to be about the team and helping them win. It’s not about whether he should or shouldn’t have been suspended, that doesn’t help anyone. ... Once these decisions are made, they’re done.” (Connor Letourneau, Tim Kawakami)
• Myers got a little emotional when asked about the league saying that Draymond's past actions and lack of remorse Monday night affecting this decision. "Well, if you wanted him to get punished, he got punished," Myers said tersely. (Tim Kawakami)
• Myers said when he got the news about Draymond’s suspension, he told Draymond “whatever you have to say, don't say tonight…I'm always one that would tell somebody to sleep on a reaction, and as far as I know, he hasn't said any thing yet.” (Kerith Burke)
• On his reaction to the suspension: “We've been here before ... Once these decisions are made, there's no appellate court. It's over. You can react however you want, but it doesn't change the fact that he's not playing ... it doesn't matter.” (Kendra Andrews)
6:00 • Myers said Draymond cannot be in the building tomorrow when he serves his suspension, per league rules. (Kerith Burke)
• Regarding Draymond’s “history of unsportsmanlike acts” being a factor in the suspension, Myers said “If the league said it played a role, it played a role. Again, these are the decisions they make. We live with them. And that's all we can do.” (Kerith Burke)
8:15 • On if this suspension may have ruined Draymond’s good will he’s built up this season since the punch (9:00): “Each time he’s mis-stepped, my hope is he learns from it and becomes better.”
10:30 • On how Green’s absence will affect the game plan: “Sports is crazy, I don’t know. I believe in the team. … it’ll be fun.” Notes Warriors have won without Draymond before. (Janie McCauley)
11:00 • On his conversations with Steve Kerr and Steph Curry quickly shifting to, "OK, now what are we going to do? Everybody understands that we have a game tomorrow night and we're in the middle of a series, a difficult one and that's the focus… It's gonna be a very telling performance.” (Madeline Kenney, Kate Rooney)
• On Draymond’s character: “The guy's a force, he's unique. He's a leader. But he will tell you that he's made mistakes. You can't hide from them, they're out the for everybody to see. He's got a good heart, he does, I know that, but that doesn't mean he's mistake-free. I'm not. Nobody is… He's as far as I can see a good husband, a good father, those things matter. He's been good to his teammates. He made a mistake with a teammate. I hadn't seen him do anything like that to a teammate before… If you want to talk about what he's done for the organization, that's not up for dispute. Without him we don't probably have any of the championships. But he’s a complicated guy, for sure.” (Janie McCauley)
Dumars says Draymond suspension included engagement with fans, past history; Ramona Shelburne; JJ Redick: “I’m not saying Sabonis is a dirty player, but there’s some dirty plays here”
PICTURE GALLERY FROM GAME 2
Not as many this time as I did not do a behind-the-scenes video for Game 2, as much of the sights and sounds were the same as Game 1, plus we lost! But we do have more overall pics if you go to our YouTube Stories, accessible from the YT mobile app.
• Domantas Sabonis postgame locker room on the altercation with Draymond: “You know I love the competition… I got hit earlier in the game in the jaw so when I fell I protected myself… there’s no room for that (Draymond’s stomp) in our game today.”
• On Draymond saying he grabbed his ankle: “It’s the playoffs. A lot of things happened. I get pushed. I’m falling on the floor. I’m trying to protect myself. That was it. Whatever happened, happened.”
• On how he’s feeling: “test came back good… sore… run some more tests tomorrow.”
• On if when he sees the video it looks even worse: “I just feel like that in our game, there’s just no room.”
• On if it makes him look at Draymond any different: “we know it’s gonna be a physical battle out there… do what we can to help my team win.”
• On Draymond egging on the crowd while he’s still on the floor in pain: “It’s Draymond. That’s how he plays… I just feel like it’s not — you just can’t have that in our game today.”
• On if he thinks the league needs to do more discipline-wise: “That’s not on me. The NBA, whatever they feel is right, they will decide.”
• On what he thought about the ruling of technical for him and ejection for Draymond: “They do all the reviewing and all that… I’m just trying to stay on the court and help my team.”
• On his jaw: “It’s fine. You guys know me, all year. I’ll be ready for Game 3. Just gotta do a lot of treatment.”
• Draymond Green postgame on the altercation with Sabonis: “My leg got grabbed second time in two nights… I gotta land my foot somewhere… I can only step so far, pulling my leg away… the explanation was I stomped too hard.”
• On if he was surprised Sabonis stayed down: “No, I wasn’t surprised he stayed down at all.”
• On his legged being grabbed the last two games: “Monk last game, ran on the baseline… John Goble… let it go… Zarba… I guess ankle grabbing is okay.”
• On yelling at the fans behind. The Warriors bench after the ejection: “Just having fun… fun atmosphere to play in.”
• On being down 0-2 for the first time: “New challenge… this is one we haven’t seen yet and we’ve conquered all the rest of them so why not conquer this one… a lot of fun.”
• On the Game 2 recap: “We’ve played okay. We haven’t played awful but we definitely haven’t played well… a chance to win each game… give yourself a chance to win… we’ve done that twice so I like it.”
• On how the Kings won: “They’ve made shots… put a lot of pressure on our defense… made shots down the stretch so gotta give those guys credit… got some things to clean up.”
• On how to fix the problems from tonight: “Accept the pressure and then go to your counters… myself included you’re trying to force it… can’t get sped up… that starts at the beginning of the game… I’ve started two games with a turnover and I gotta be better.”
• On if the Kings remind him of the Warriors in 2013: “We can say that about any team any year, last year it was Memphis… always gonna get those comparisons so it’s hard to do what we’ve done so I kinda relax on those comparisons.”
• On the physicality: “At times we’ve matched the physicality… too many times we haven’t… kinda figuring it out as well… overall, some okay but not to the level you need to be to win in the playoffs.”
• On young guys: “It’s different brand of basketball in the playoffs… we know what Jordan’s capable of… Donte… JK… just gotta stay ready… coaches have to make the decisions based upon how they feel the game is going… those guys will (stay ready).”
• On the issues being the same as regular season, break habits: “you don’t just flip a switch… work through them to figure them out… gave up 29 free throws… should be a little closer to 20… better at the point of attack… bigs who is in coverage… defense gets compromised.”
• On getting Steph going earlier: “idk we have to figure that out… release the pressure some… what other guys can do… come ready to play in Game 3.”
• On what he does after an ejection: “Sometimes I watch sometimes I don’t.. lift weights, get stronger.”
• On what they have to do differently: “Fox has made plays… that’s who he is… Clutch Award… we’ve scored… just haven’t gotten stops… defensive issue.”
• Stephen Curry postgame Game 2 on what happened down the stretch: “They just made a couple more plays… Fox got into the paint… fought back and competed after not playing well in the first half at all… biggest lesson is how do we control the momentum early… they’re young, athletic… match (their force)… with IQ.”
• On if the Draymond-Sabonis impacted the game: [zoom call went down]
• [unknown question due to Zoom call being dropped] “be more efficient from the three-point line.”
• On the bad habits from the regular season: “be more mindful… the confidence that we have is maybe delusional… continue to make the same mistakes… two or three possession game… here or there… we know we have it… that question will determine our fate… I like our ability… good start in Game 3.”
• On De’Aaron Fox: “getting better every year… puts pressure on you every possession… knows his strengths… confidence… it’s what we expected but we still understand what it takes to urn this series in our favor.”
• On the physicality: “Brings that competitive fight out of us… game to game just feeling it out… especially on the perimeter… gotta be able to respond.”
• On the pace: “We both like to play fast. That’s kind of our sweet spot. We’re more predicated on ball movement… Fox… point of attack… stronger as the game has gone on… better start… playing fast but not in a hurry… have some counters to their pressure… playing fast into that can sometimes get you into a rush.”
• On the rotations and him playing the whole Q4: “On the fly but I assumed when I started… I was gonna be able to finish and I felt fine.”
• On if they need more production from youngsters at home: “The way that we’ve played all year… different rotations… part of how we’re built because we have so many options based on looks… just stay locked in mentally and not get deflated if it’s not your night or not your turn… everybody wants to play… if you miss that moment because you give into frustration, that’s the hard part.”
• Klay Thompson postgame Game 2 on being down 0-2 for the first time: “Unfamiliar territory but we’ve been down 3-1.”
• On what the Kings are doing: “They’re switching a lot of screens and making us play along the perimeter… didn’t get to the rim… being back home will help us… being aggressive… not settling… we had two chances to win these games so we’re not discouraged.”
• On the physicality: “Better that than all the flopping. We don’t mind when it’s a physical game.”
• On the bad habits from the regular season: “Bounce back in a great way and I know we will.”
• On pace: “makes for a fun matchup… we’ll be better… at home. I just know we will.”
• On feeling any pressure: “No… see an opportunity for us to go home and protect our home court… we’ve been through it all… lost a 73-win season so we know how to deal with outside pressure… comes with being an NBA player.”
• On playing the whole fourth quarter, expecting more from the young guys: “Jordan’s playing with half a foot right now so I’m just proud of his resilience… first to four… we all have off nights… Finals, in the Olympics… bounce back… I know we’re gonna right the ship.”
• On what needs to change: “Make more shots, attack the rim and rebound. Those three things are vital to success going forward.”
• On Draymond-Sabonis incident: “what are you gonna do… fully grabs your foot and yanks on you… that’s not cool, man… can’t just grab somebody’s foot, that’s not cool. I don’t do that. That’s crazy.”
• Steve Kerr postgame Game 2 recap: “They did a great job defensively of pressuring us… didn’t handle it… that said it’s a tie game with four minutes left… we will play better… you saw what they did… foul trouble, an ejection. The way our guys fought… going home and licking our wounds a little bit.”
• On the Draymond ejection: “I didn’t see the play live and I didn’t see the replay… (Zarba) told me… one of the coaches told me he might get ejected so I was trying to prepare.”
• On the physicality: “Gary hit a big three to tie it… Klay… incredibly physical… not much freedom of movement. They were the aggressors… benefited.”
• On the pace: “Tonight was obviously slower… there could’ve been ten fouls called in the first three minutes… that’s how you have to adapt… they weren’t gonna call much… held them to 17 points but we couldn’t sustain it… I’m really proud of the effort to fight back… just didn’t have enough.”
• On if he’s ever faced a team that matches up with quickness: “We’ve played so many teams… so many different styles. Not gonna go into my history book… every team you play is gonna be a great team… they played great defense… this is just about giving them credit.”
• On the fouls: “Second half there were more called… you have to adapt… a few too many reaches and holds… but it was also an incredibly physical game.”
• On not playing Poole and Kuminga much: “That wasn’t the plan… seeing what we needed… we had to have our best defensive lineup… Gary… Wiggs… Steph played the whole quarter… they got us there… impressive but just didn’t quite have enough.”
• On Moody: “Everything is a balance. You’re trying to find the best two-way balance… need some size out there.”
0:00 will this be the beginning of "The Curse of E-40" for the entirety of Sacramento
2:45 Game 3 we will in our black/rose uniforms at home
9:15 Poole is available, Wiggins starts and I think we go straight up Wiggs vs Fox unless Fox goes off and then we do a little box-and-1, but I think Wiggs will handle him
10:00 prediction: Steph will have less than 5 turnovers
10:30 Looney wins another tip!
11m45 Dray bad tov
11m15 Steph crazy runner wanted foul no call
10m45 Loon dumb tov, Fox dunk
10m20 Klay almost tov but it's 3
9m40 Klay tov
9m23 Loon pushes off on his own (now 4.5 bad possessions out of 6)
9m30 Steph blocks Huerter corner 3! Crowd suggests that it was a foul on Jumbotron replay
8m55 Klay tov at halfcourt (5.5 bad possessions out of 7)
8m20 Steph tov vs Fox
8m10 Dray's lob is too high but he gets steal, filay 94 feet later
7m30 good tiki Steph Dray Loon
6m45 Wiggs draws a hook on Fox (Sac is 0/4 on threes)
20:00 on Steph not getting any calls esp the first play of the game, ironically, Mike Brown said in the pregame that Curry is good at getting fouls (but I think he meant more on the 3s)
22:45 Wiggs tov smh
5m40 great help D by Wiggs, Klay steal, but Steph landed funny on the airball layup vs Davion
24:30 5m10 looks like Wiggs doesn't want to come out
5m00 tiki taka Loon, but after JP steal, Donte charge (7 tov) -- on pace for 48 turnovers
4m30 Sabonis and-one why not fouling him before he shoots
4m10 huge mistake by SAC leaving Steph open in the corner but hey have 2nd unit in (Terrence Davis), also Donte is fully integrated as a Warrior
3m40 JP way off Davion, gotta be a game plan decision, but he hits the jumper
3m32 Kerr calls timeout a few seconds into the possession, he calls timeout, was it because he didn't like what he saw? Possible reasons: Davion is top-blocking Steph, Steph was limping, GP was at the wing instead of the corner
3m20 ATO is tiki, Steph not limping so blow that theory out
2m55 Dray charge taken on Lyles
2m30 Steph launches two, first one might've been fouled, great tip by Wiggs
2m05 Huerter good shot but tough shot
1m54 Steph comes out, so 2-min rest
1m10 JP can go past nearly anyone with big first step, decides not to, to run a play, but GP later 8th tov
0m42 good hustle getting the bad screen by Len
0m35 Wiggs steals an inbound, how many guys in the NBA can do what he just did!
0m06 JP seems to be able to get the step whenever he wants, but he lost the ball a little bit
40:00 if we don't have 6 bad passes and 2-3 charges, we'd be up 34-17, oh well
41:00 JABS NANA: "9 turn overs by both team yikes" -- were you surprised though? The SplashBrothers are also the YikesBrothers. They are making tons of old school coaches roll in their graves. If Bobby Knight is watching this game, the Warriors might be responsible for cardiac arrest.
42:45 ate last we're forcing them to turn the ball over (9)
11m30 Q2 Dray trapped Monk, Len dunk
11m10 another dunk for Len, JK bad POA
10m00 Monk 3 threes in 2 mins -- I would sub out JK for Wiggs
48:00 Monk is out of his mind rn, playing like a 6MOY
9m54 JK stays in, you don't wanna destroy his confidence
8m55 Dray bad tov lob to Wiggs
8m10 Len tramples Dray, Brown gotta take him out
8m00 Steph actually got a call vs Davion, same foul as this one
7m30 Davion 3, GP roamed too much
6m50 Dray another bad tov
6m30 Klay quick shot ATO bad, but JP hustles
6m10 what a pass by JP to Loon breaks drought
5m05 great D by Steph on KH and Loon on Sabonis
4m45 Monk gets past GP2 too easily -- need more physicality
4m20 bad ref call on Klay vs Fox -- this is the playoffs!
3m35 HB cheats over on Steph, GP2 should cut, Wiggs gets the J
3m00 Wiggs keeping the franchise afloat, good collapse defense on Sabonis
2m20 clutch 3 by GP via Steph can change the game
1m00 great D sequences, seeing the champ DNA come out
0m10 Dray told GP to trap Monk, it ended up leaving Sabonis open
0m4.9 Steph shaking his head thinking about the last bad tov
1:17:00 Game 1 halftime was up 6, grade = B-, today down 6, grad = C-
1:19:15 Lawrence: "Calm down y'all. The warriors live on the edge mostly. They gonna figure this out👍"
1:19:45 sustainability of this style of play for next year? Maybe Steph will tone it down a notch? Is it still early in the playoffs for Steph to get a feel? Kinda hard to gauge from last year because he was coming back from injury vs Denver
1:22:00 it's not about needing different plays, just take care of the ball and it's mindset because we've faced more physical and swarming defenses such as Boston
1:25:00 people saying they need more pride, that's not hitting the nail on the head, the nail on the head is all about Steph, but if you take away his risk-taking, do you take away the Baby-Faced Assassin? So I think the hardest thing for fans to do is striking the equivalent balance of acceptance vs frustration -- it will always confound you, Steph does that, that's why he's different. But as a fan, how long is it gonna take you to understand this? It's been (let's say 2015) 7 or 8 years. Can we try to understand this dynamic and not be outraged by it too much within a time span of under a decade? Or are certain types of fans just not able, not willing to do the brain work to understand this balance. Because the bottom line is, it's pretty fascinating. Along the lines of Ruin The Game.
1:28:30 Maybe that's the lesson here: taking the good with the bad in every facet life, even basketball. If you just step back and study Steph Curry as an observer, as someone who is curious about the game of basketball and how it translates to life, then you'll have more appreciation for the game
1:30:45 Dean: "Jordan ruined the game with iso scoring, Magic with bigs wanting to dribble, Russell with jumping, etc. Don't critique what you can't understand. -Bob Dylan"
11m45 Q3 Dray fails to box out HB, compounds the error fouling him
11m00 Dray fouls HB again
10m56 Moody comes in, can he change the game?
10m40 Wiggs vs Fox easy
10m26 Moody fouls HB on the screen, 4th team foul in 1.5 mins
9m45 Moody tap-in could be X-factor
9m35 someone left KH open
8m25 wanting Klay to pass, but it's because KH grabbing Steph which they call
5m50 basic curl action KH vs Klay and we're getting beat every time
5m40 Dray bad pass, Wiggs travel
3m45 went zone, Davion missed 3
3m34 when Steph misses a FT, you know it's outta whack
2m15 Wiggs great baseline D vs Lyles, Moody great hustle
1m45 mini-run credit the defense
0m50 Lyles gets past Moody, Sabonis 2 FTs
0m05 Wiggs misses layup but then again he missed a whole bunch last season and we still won the championship
2:08:00 this is our squad, same tov rate as last season (Steph 3.2), can't be mad, can't blame
11m35 Huerter two straight fouls but he does that a lot
11m15 Monk blocks Wiggs 3
11m00 Steph amazing finish no call
10m44 on the Dray foul call vs Sabonis, the whistle blows and Steph takes a 3 from halfcourt, old schoolers like me would say come on, be more serious, you're down 6 and have 19 turnovers, but you just have to accept Steph for who he is
10m40 Dray to Steph tiki ATO, Courtney Kirkland not a good ref
10m10 Lyles playing football
9m55 Steph airball, sometimes the more embarrassing the better, replay shows all ball
9m15 DPOY charge (should not be JJJ)
8m55 Kings knew we wanted to go to the corner
8m30 Steph says see ya later Davion
8m10 G4 layup by Steph
7m40 tiki taka!!! Dray to Wiggs despite them saggin
7m10 the difference in the NBA refs is whether or not they're going to call a reputation tech, good physicality by Klay on Sabonis btw
7m03 crowd egging on Dray only feeds him, but that's what makes him great, we shall see if we get keystone cops from the NBA, I don't trust this crew (inexperienced), Warriors trying to stay positive as Zarba takes the mic which we can't hear
2:24:15 this crew does not know what they're doing, Adam Silver wouldn't want this, absolutely horrible Flagrant 2, I don't think any other ref crew would've given a FF2
6m00 tiki taka after Steph G4 layup
5m30 G4 layup
2:31:00 diatribe of travesty of refs, you call it like it's the Finals because of the parity in the NBA. You can't have both parity
4m11 wiggs brick but nods in confidence
3m40 flamethrower Klay
3m10 Klay beautiful flare 3
2m45 Fox always cheats
2:51:00 maybe being down 2-0 is what these vets need to wake up, Steph 5 tov
2:54:00 the moral of story is to let the 7-game series play out, it's still too early to judge, e.g., is Steph really gonna average 5 tov in a series?
2:57:00 to have a young team like this do what you tell them to do, props to the Kings
2:59:00 keys for the Kings: 1) Fox hitting clutch shots, 2) veteran clutch buckets by HB, 3) team defense, 4) offense off of DHOs and curls from Sabonis
3:23:00 [technical difficulties]
3:51:45 Golden 1 was saying, "Curry is trash"
3:52:15 Dean: Klay played well, Dray out was a shame
3:55:30 Dean: Kings took 10 more shots, 11 more FTs, how to read the refs, lost the assist battle
3:58:00 on the E-40 incident, being enemies, they were taunting Andre, and Andre responded by saying he's staying in his seat, cool to see him and GP2 try to help out, but security was there to make sure GP2 did not get involved
4:06:00 Steph's turnovers haven't been the over the shoulder ones, it's been the cross court ones
4:22:00 thought Klay did JP a solid on the ankle reference "half a foot", then Dean says they are gladiators, wishes they would post how ugly the taped ankles are, says he loves this team, doesn't mind if they lose
4:42:00 hard to find in the NBA: someone who can play the 3 fully and the 4 fully together (Wiggins and Harrison Barnes)
5:15:00 adopting Steph's mentality of taking the next challenge
5:19:45 on Woj saying Klay is expecting a max extension
5:30:00 on Team USA being run differently, select 12 guys, that's it, go into training camp, no tryouts
5:53:30 Draymond on IG: "Nothing wrong here. Solid basketball play!" with a still shot of Sabonis grabbing his ankle
• Steve Kerr pregame Game 2 on enjoying the chess match vs Mike Brown: “one of my best friends in the league… he knows our team probably better than anybody outside our group… completely different level of preparation.”
• On knowing the status of Jordan Poole: “No, not yet.”
• On how Wiggins feels, more minutes: “Andrew’s doing well… beyond that, I’m not gonna talk about his minutes.”
• On this rivalry being good for the NBA: “it can’t be a rivalry if there’s only been one playoff game… fun… 80 miles from each other.”
• On success after a playoff loss and road games: “Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, among other reasons.”
• On Klay is edgy: “always a little edgy. Even though he can appear happy go lucky and everybody enjoys watching him on his boat, with his dog… he’s a gamer… takes losses and poor performances as hard as anybody… you don’t become a four-time champion and hall of famer because you (just) shoot the ball well.”
• On Game 1 environment: “It wasn’t difficult, it’s just loud… during a free throw or something… I gotta jump up and down (to get attention)… while they’re on the court… there’s not a ton of that anyway… players aren’t listening (in the heat of the action).”
• On good shots to great shots and conversations with Klay or Steph: “That’s the great balance that we try to achieve here and we don’t always achieve it… complete freedom and confidence… comes with responsibility with what wins the games… take bad shots, that’s not respecting the freedom that they’re given… our guys are flame throwers… that’s 1950s stuff, actually more like 1980s, I remember getting yelled at… we had too many bad possessions… could’ve explored the defense.”
• On not calling timeout on the last play of Game 1: “Draymond and Sabonis are lying down… you got Steph Curry in a four on four… better than any genius play… after they’ve had a timeout… broken floor situation is always the best way to get a look.”
• On 68% on two-pointers: “Yes. Yes. That’s the balance… that was part of our film session… part of our practice… good to great instead of bad to mediocre.”
• On being able to limit Sabonis and Huerter again: “You always try to limit key players… it never carries over from one game to the next… separate entity… hoping we won’t let Malik Monk get 14 free throws… season average of two-and-a-half… doesn’t mean we’ll limit this guy and that guy… other stuff happens…every game just starts fresh… take care of stuff you can take care of… non-negotiable stuff.”
• Mike Brown pregame Game 2 on getting Sabonis different looks: “I thought he had some good looks… they weren’t double-teaming him… then you try to figure something out… one-on-one coverage… go do what he’s gotta do.”
• On the series becoming harder: “They’re the champions, they’ve been through the fire many times… not gonna get rattled… you’re wounded a little bit… how wounded animals are… desperation increases, intensity… don’t want to go down 0-2… rise to what they are which is the reigning NBA champions.”
• On what he tells his team to do to make things difficult for Curry: “You’re not stopping him. He’s a Hall of Famer, changed the game of basketball… try not to foul… fantastic at drawing fouls especially when shooting threes… live with the results.”
• On a chess match vs Steve Kerr: “My partner, her daughter plays in Rolling Hills… I’d rather be in a chess match with her… rather than Steve Kerr… great fun… Steve is first-ballot Hall of Famer… see what we’re made of… that’s no knock to the eighth grade girls team… great coach (laughter).”
• On Wiggins changing the complexion of the series: “unsung hero for us (last year’s Finals)… ability to offensive rebound… magnified by 30, 40, 50… the longer he’s out on the floor… putbacks… could change the series if we let him loose.”
• On helping Keegan Murray: “be aggressive… idk that there’s anyone else around him from the Draft that’s doing what he does… he’s gonna screw up just like we all are… develop a short memory… that’s the one thing they all have in common… missing shots or missing an assignment… make it up next possession… stay present.”
• On defense of Huerter: “when you top block it opens up the floor… other guys have to step up… move the ball if he doesn’t get it… he’s not Steph, he’s not Klay… their gravity creates opportunities for others… with the way that they’re guarding them.”
• On a fan having a tattoo of him in his leg: “it was an honor. Hey, I’m still flabbergasted by it. I hoped my partner would’ve done it… she said if you do it first… one day I’d like to meet him but idk if I’d put my mug on anybody’s body because it ain’t pretty.”
• On getting ahead of the adjustments: “You don’t present it to the guys… be ready… they may do… if all else fails, bring a level of physicality to the game that you’ve never had before, bring a pace that you’ve never had before… don’t wanna give the too many things so that they’re hesitating.”
• On what he tells his team: “They’ve been through everything you can imagine… it’s like boxing or the UFC… I love MMA. When you watch… you have to go take out the champion… keep throwing haymakers because it’s going to be a dogfight… embrace that.”
• On the satisfaction level of winning Game 1: “(Jokes with Tim Kawakami) I’ve learned a lot from a lot of guys: Steve, Bernie Bickerstaff, Rick Carlisle, Tim Gurgich… from Pop is during the regular season that’s when you coach your guys… kick the whole group’s behind, one guy behind… band together and say F you to me… playoffs… gotta support your guys… if we win I’ma love them.”
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I’m looking on-point with the “Tony Brothers wouldn’t have ejected Draymond” part. He’s the lead ref in the Sixers game as I write this: https://twitter.com/keithsmithnba/status/1649197195059494919?s=46&t=lITBXDic6CedFiqAp77ILg
Scott Foster... the worst, did I miss sarcasm or do you think he's ok as a ref? Bro why would you EVER want Scott Foster reffing the dubs. He sucks. Just read up on players opinions of him.