LOOK: Referees clarify controversial Finals Game 1 calls

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 01, 2018 01:07 PM
LOOK: Referees clarify controversial Finals Game 1 calls
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, top left, and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, top right, talk with officials during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

NBA referees Ken Mauer and Tony Brothers clarified a pair of controversial calls that occurred late in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As transcribed by pool reporter Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Mauer explained that the referees doubted whether or not LeBron James was in the restricted area, during a late fourth quarter call.

With 36.4 seconds left, Kevin Durant was driving into the lane when James stepped in the lane in the hopes of drawing a charge. Referees were unsure of the call and went to review, ultimately deciding that it was in fact a blocking foul, which resulted in a pair of charities for Durant, that tied the game at 104-all.

Some fans felt that James was too far from restricted area to have a review triggered.

Per Mauer, "The reason for the trigger [for review] is that we had doubt as to whether or not James was in the restricted area. When over at the table, we then are allowed to determine whether or not he was in a legal guarding position. It was determined he was out of the restricted area, but he was not in a legal guarding position prior to Durant's separate shooting motion. So we had to change it to a blocking foul."

During the postgame press conference, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was upset with the decision, saying, "I guess the rule is you can review the call if it's inside or outside the restricted [area] is the rule that I know. And I mean, they called a charge right? And LeBron was clearly four feet outside the restricted area. So it doesn't make sense to go review something if - the review is if he's on the line or if he's close to the charge circle, that's the review. He wasn't close. So what are we reviewing?"

Fans online pointed out that the league used such a review mechanism earlier this season, in a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers. A similar resulted in the ruling that the Thunder's Huestis, who was also outside the restricted area, was not in legal guarding position.

Brothers meanwhile explained the decision to levy a flagrant foul 2 on Tristan Thompson with the game just about wrapped up. "From the angle that I had on the floor, as he is coming toward [Shaun] Livingston, his elbow is up high and it appears he hits him in the head when he is coming toward him. So that's why I called the foul and ejected him."

The situation escalated from there when Draymond Green went near Thompson clapping, which resulted in Thompson throwing the ball at Green's head, his hand also striking Green in the process. However, since he was already being ejected, no further sanctions could have been made at the point in the game, though the league will likely review it later on.

According to Lue, Thompson was frustrated that Livingston took a shot at the basket with the result pretty much decided, save for the final score. "He [Thompson] just thought Shaun shouldn't have shot the ball at the end," said Lue. "The game was over, two seconds left to take a shot. He just felt he shouldn't have shot the ball."

Had Livingston not shot the ball, it would have been a shot-clock violation, though Golden State was up 122-114.

Senior Vice President of Replay of Referee Operations Joe Borgia also discussed the calls on NBA TV:

The Warriors wound up winning the game in overtime, 124-114.

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