Warriors furious with refs after OT loss to Wolves
The call that seemed to upset Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his players the most came with 4.4 seconds left in overtime and the Warriors trailing 130-127. Warriors forward Kevin Durant caught an inbounds pass and turned quickly to shoot a 3 to tie the game. Referee Marat Kogut whistled for a foul, emphatically saying that the foul by Timberwolves swingman Keita Bates-Diop came before Durant was in the act of shooting.
Kerr didn't hold back his thoughts when asked about the play after the game.
"Did I think it was before the shot?" Kerr said. "I just watched the replay. He caught and he shot -- it's a four-point play. I mean, I don't know what else to say. Kind of mind-boggling. You catch and you go up for a shot, and you get fouled in any league -- any league -- that's a good bucket and a free throw. Any league, not just the NBA."
The Warriors bench could not believe the call and made their frustration known. On the next play, Warriors guard Stephen Curry took a pass in the corner, dribbled for a moment and made a difficult 3-pointer to tie the game.
Curry, Durant and several teammates celebrated by happily pointing their fingers in Kogut's face as they headed back to the bench.
On the ensuing possession, with just 0.5 seconds remaining in overtime, Timberwolves swingman Anthony Tolliver threw an inbounds pass over the head of Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns, but official Leon Wood whistled Durant for a foul. The Warriors bench was incredulous. After the call, Curry walked halfway down the visitors tunnel before returning to see Towns make the first free throw and miss the second one as the clock expired.
Kerr had a quick response when asked about the final play.
"You mean when the lob was going 10 feet over the rim?" he asked.
Durant had similar sentiments.
"Y'all seen the play," Durant said. "I wanna keep my money 'cause they gave me two bulls--- techs. Lemme just stop talking about the officiating. But you seen the play."
Curry was asked after the game if his team's reaction after he made the shot that tied up the contest had any impact on Wood's whistle on the Durant foul.
"If that's the case that's indicative of the entire game," Curry said. "And not officiating the game itself and letting emotions get in the way or whatever kind of agenda you had coming in. At the end of the day it's one of 82, we're not going to get overblown that much. We should have been way ahead in the second half by playing better. But again, let the play decide, and that's just unfortunate."
When asked which call he believed to be worse, Curry took a direct shot at Kogut.
"You'd have to ask the MVP of tonight," Curry said. "Marat Kogut."
Durant came to the same conclusion as well.
"Marat was his name?" Durant said. "He was the best player on the floor tonight. He made sure that -- he's so good with his whistle that he knew they were gonna foul me, and he called it right before I shot the ball. So he's one of the greatest refs of all time."
The Warriors understood they took their foot off the gas by giving up a 14-point halftime lead, but the group was still angered by how the game unfolded down the stretch with the officials' whistles.
"It's just tough when your effort like that gets sabotaged for sure," Curry said. "I've been back there looking at those calls over and over and over again and still don't understand either one of them. KD four-point play which puts pressure on them with 4 seconds left to have to get a bucket. And at the end of the game, nobody wants to see a game end like that. A crazy pass that had no chance of being caught and a soft foul that should never have been called to decide the game like that. Guys out there fighting their ass off to play and compete and win the game by playing basketball, so it's a tough way to go out."
Durant noted that the Warriors watched the replays of the calls several times in the locker room after the game.
"All you need is one time," Durant said with a smile. "All you need to see it is once. I mean, late in the game, can you be physical that late in the game? I didn't extend my arms on the push; I didn't grab; I didn't impede anybody's movement. Plus the ball was already out of bounds. I mean, would you call that one late? Nah. My little brother probably wouldn't have called that one; they need to just let us play. They should've let us play. We should still be playing right now."
The end of the game left Kerr both frustrated and amazed at the shot-making by both Curry and Durant late in the game.
"It was incredible," Kerr said of Curry's shot that tied the game at 130. "The wherewithal to know the clock, to understand that he had plenty of time to free himself up and then to shoot that step-back, it was just an incredible shot. But it should not have even been attempted. Kevin should have been at the line shooting a free throw to win the game. So very, very disappointing. I'm really happy with the guys' effort to get back in the game. Disappointed with the way we lost control of the game and disappointed with the officiating at the end."