The rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets has flared up now that their second-round playoff series is underway. After a contentious Game 1, which the Warriors won, 104-100, James Harden complained about the officiating during his post-game press conference.
"I just want a fair chance," Harden said. In particular, he was upset about not getting calls when the Warriors stepped underneath him while he was shooting jumpers, including on a potential game-tying 3 in the closing seconds. Though the NBA said that was not a foul, three other blown calls in the Last Two Minute Report, all of which went the Warriors way. That was in addition to Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni informing reporters that the referees admitted four different missed calls on close-outs in the first half of Game 1.
But despite the fact that the league admitted the calls went the Warriors' way, the defending champs didn't want to hear any complaints about the officiating. Draymond Green cracked a joke at his own post-game presser, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr continued the act on Monday afternoon. Before talking to the assembled press at practice, Kerr bumped into a reporter and then joked that she fouled him.
In response, Rockets GM Daryl Morey took to Twitter to share an article about Kerr being fined for complaining about officiating back in 2016.
If that wasn't enough, there was also a report from Zach Lowe and Rachel Nichols in which they obtained a copy of the memo the Rockets sent the league following their audit of the officiating in Game 7 of last season's Western Conference finals. Houston believed their chance to win an NBA title was stolen from them. Via ESPN:
"Referees likely changed the eventual NBA champion," says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA's president of league operations. "There can be no worse result for the NBA."
This is all very petty stuff, and though the Rockets have some valid points about the officiating, it's also understandable why the Warriors don't want to hear those kinds of excuses.
In any case, it will be even more interesting now to see how Game 2 goes on Tuesday night. Not only from a results standpoint but in terms of how the game is officiated.