Welp. It’s official. The NBA has turned into the angsty, skinny-legged jean wearing, always on their smartphone cousin of who it used to be and it’s getting harder and harder to watch.
Coach of the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr, opened his press conference by running into a journalist and flailing his arms while saying, “That was a foul!” Basically Kerr took a cheap shot at Rockets James Harden and the sheeple around him giggled along. Perhaps it’s funny to some people but take a walk back to Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals when Kerr’s former player Zaza Pachulia slid his foot under Kawhi Leonard. Leonard came down on Pachulia’s foot, injured his ankle and was out for the series and the majority of the next year. Perhaps Kerr thinks that play was funny too.
It is understood that Harden has mastered drawing fouls. That’s awesome. That should be applauded. Especially since HE MAKES THE MAJORITY OF HIS FREE THROWS! The fouls that he draws are typically when an opposing player decides to reach in. Some of the players have gotten hip to this and have decided to go the Pachulia route by throwing their bodies into Hardens shooting space to throw him off making the shot while not reaching in. While this may be a solution for not reaching in, it creates a new problem of the safety of the jump shooter. You need a safe space to land. Think about it. If someone were to jump up to make a shot and they see their opponent jumping into them simultaneously, wouldn’t it make sense that their focus would shift away from taking a great shot and towards finding a safe space to land?
This is exactly what happened in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals between the Rockets and Warriors. While bad calls and missed calls shouldn’t impact the outcome of the game because in a perfect world the better team should just make all of their shots, that’s not reality.
In the end, Game 1 was marred by the narrative of unfairness, missed calls, and a lot of opinions from people who aren’t on either team so their opinions don’t actually matter. Here’s hoping the Rockets can shake off the residue from Game 1 and head into the rest of the series with their minds focused on silencing all of these opinions. Who knows? Maybe the Rockets will fire off so many clean buckets that the refs won’t have a say in the outcome of the game, one way or the other.