Monday, February 2, 2009

Forget Arizona, the Golden State Warriors Have a Legitimate Officiating Gripe

Damn. I was on the brink of simultaneously getting really excited about the Golden State Warriors and really worried about saying their season was over a couple days ago. Monta Ellis had just thrown in a circus finish, Stephen Jackson had just drained one of those pure shots that barely moves the net, and the Warriors were up by four on the mighty, mighty San Antonio Spurs.

And they were at home. That's Oakland home-cookin' is gooood, so the boys were sitting pretty.

Even the two free-throws by Manu Manu Ginobili and subsequent miss by Jacks didn't really bother me. After all, there were only 17 seconds left and Golden State was shockingly playing solid defense. So I was still thinking that miraculous finish that would be necessary to propel them into the playoffs might not be as unlikely as I thought.

I'm of the opinion that you cannot underestimate the significance of beating an elite team in a close game. Especially when that team has the championship pedigree of the Spurs. And the Warriors still had that two-point lead.

Did I mention they were at home?

Because that's when all hell broke loose. Manu Manu drove desperately to the hoop with less than 10 seconds left. Deploying the latest in a series of unfortunate National Basketball Association trends, Ginobili flop-flung himself into Ronny Turiaf's legs and drew a "foul."

Of course he made the two charity tosses because Ginobili is one of the most clutch players in the game of basketball (NBA or otherwise). If you're a Warrior fan, the tied game degenerated from there.

Jacks whiled away too much time at the top of the key, couldn't finish off his drive, and then no bail-out came from the refs as the horn sounded. Make no mistake—any foul called on that shot would've been a make-up because there just wasn't an infraction to be seen.

Bruce Bowen blanketed Jackson (as Bowen's prone to do) and Stephen didn't leave himself enough time to ad lib. Plain, simple, and fatal.

San Antonio took over in overtime, stretched out to a lead, and cruised to victory in a totally deflated Oracle Arena. To add literal injury to insult, Monta went down in the extra period with an apparent sprained ankle. Obviously, that's exponentially worse if it's the same ankle he hurt moped'ing.

But it's bad either way because he relies on explosion. If it's the other ankle, that means he'll be working on two bum wheels when he comes back. Not good for Golden State. Not good for us fans. And really not good for poor Monta Ellis.

I love the kid. Let's hope for many, many reasons that he bounces back no worse for wear.

But let me rewind and go back to that pathetic foul called on Turiaf that sent Manu Manu to the line for the tying buckets.

I'm not one to blame losses on officiating and this game is no different. Jackson blew a pretty good chance to win the game by inexplicably dribbling away precious seconds, the Warriors waved the white flag in OT, and Corey Maggette missed two free-throws a couple possessions earlier that could've padded the lead. None of that happened so Golden State has to look in the mirror for the ultimate blame.

That said, that call was one of the most horrendously disgusting examples of excruciatingly bad refereeing that I have even had the misfortune of witnessing. If you think the refs were bad in the Super Bowl, stay FAR away from the NBA because there are some real stinkers in stripes roaming the hardwood.

Seriously, every single thing that could've been bad about this call was that and more.

First, there was barely any contact. Second, all the contact was initiated by the offensive player. Third, Turiaf was moving in the same plane as Ginobili so any contact shouldn't have mattered. Fourth, Ginobili had almost zero chance to finish the shot regardless of what the defense was doing because he wasn't shooting—he was flop-fishing for a trip to the charity stripe. Fifth (and this was the most blatant), the ref who called it was totally blocked from the play by Tim Duncan and Maggette.

The zebra had no business blowing that whistle. Especially considering there was another ref along the baseline with a much better shot of the play. Incidentally, that ref never even flinched at the play—he was having none of Manu Manu's theatrics.

Too bad the guy who couldn't see anything anyway was such a sucker.

Like I said, Golden State had plenty of chances to show some resilience and win that game so you can't hang it on the official. He was garbage and the Warriors still had control of the game.

But, for a league fresh off a refereeing scandal the likes of which I'd never seen, calls like that really make you wonder whether the problem was actually ripped out by the roots.

Or was it just pruned a bit?

1 comment:

John said...

The moment the fire sparks out of both Timmy and Manu, nothing is gonna stop them. It was just too much for the Warriors to handle.

That's what made them the dynasty on the decade. People may tend to forget that sometime.

Btw, appreciate if you could check out my recap.

Oh yes, what a game it was at Super Bowl 43. The best I've seen. Was hoping for a Cardinals win because of Ben Graham.