Balls: Refs get best of Warriors, fans

Oakland — There's an old adage that the NBA Finals don't begin in earnest until both teams complain loudly about the officials. In that case, consider the Cleveland Cavaliers-Warriors series to be on with a vengeance.

Everyone from LeBron James to owner Job Lacob's fiancee were in the ears of Tony Brothers, Scott Foster and Zach Zarba in Game 2 on Sunday. It's a wonder that Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala didn't get hoarse, so many times did they argue whistles that went against them.

The fans let loose with the obligatory chant of “Refs, you suck!” several times.

Then there was Mary Babers-Green, Draymond's mother, who posted these tweets about the referees while the game was in progress:


“NBA YOU SEE THE WAY BROTHERS US GOING AFTER Dray even when he tries to walk away..GET THAT MAN!


While there were enough questionable calls to peeve off both sides, don't blame the outcome on them. If anything, the Cavaliers had a more legitimate complaint, especially James, who did not receive the usual superstar treatment on this night.

That was apparent on what could have been the decisive play of the game. On the final sequence of the fourth period, James appeared to get hit on the right arm by Green on a layup attempt, but no foul was called on the play.

The Warriors and their fans are new to this NBA Finals thing. They'll learn soon enough.

MAYBE HE MEANT BLOKE: Luc Longley spent five seasons with Steve Kerr on the Chicago Bulls, and he had this to say about the respective coaches in his FOX Sports analysis: “(David) Blatt has a lot more experience, but Kerr's been to the Finals five times or more as a player, so I wouldn't give either coach the edge. However, I know Steve really well and he's a cold-hearted bastard.”

A cold-hearted what?

“That's what Luc wrote?” Kerr laughed. “That's fantastic.”


“I don't know the context, but he's probably just saying that I don't like to lose,” said Kerr, who referred to Longley as “one of my all-time favorite teammates.”

SWEET DREAMS: Cavaliers team owner Dan Gilbert sounded like a desperate man after Kyrie Irving joined Kevin Love on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

“Obviously, Kyrie brings a huge amount to our team, but all year they've found ways just like Ohio State found ways with their new quarterbacks,” Gilbert said at a tech summit that he attended along with Lacob attended the other night.

Yeah, except that the Warriors aren't the Indiana Hoosiers.

Gilbert even tried to tried to get inside Lacob's head when he said, “I just wouldn't want to be Golden State and lose when two of our best players are out,”

To which Lacob said to himself, “Ain't happenin', pal,” a fly told Balls.

SMALL PRICE TO PAY: Met a middle-aged fan and his family on BART en route to the game.

“I remember watching the Warriors win it all in '75 and saying to myself, 'The next time this happens, I've got to be there,'” the man said.

One wife, two kids and $3,200 later, the guy lived his dream.

“Paid $800 apiece for four tickets on StubHub — and that was a bargain,” he said. “We wouldn't miss it for anything. I just didn't know it would take this long to get here.”

VIP'S AND WANNABES: Larry Baer, Dave Chappelle, Baron Davis, Grant Hill, Tom Izzo, Steve Mariucci, Shaquille O'Neal, Ahmad Rashad, Carlos Santana, Nate Thurmond, Ian Williams, Michael Wilhoite and were in attendance.

PABLO REDUX: How bad was Pablo Sandoval before he got two hits against the Athletics on Sunday? When he showed up at Fenway Park, he told Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, “I'm glad you didn't forget about me.”

Sandoval hit .123 (8 off 65) in the last previous 17 games. The switch-hitter didn't have more than one hit in a game in almost a month — since May 10 to be exact — and he totaled all of five extra-base hits in the span. He was virtually an automatic out against left-handers with an .049 batting average (two hits, 41 at-bats).

Sandoval was just as lousy in the field. He committed two errors in a game twice in a span of four days. Both times had butchered a play in the ninth inning that cost his team the game.

REST OF THE STORY: So is it possible that Bay Area hasn't seen the last of Sandoval this season?

The Red Sox rank 11th in a 15-team league, and if they don't turn it around before the trade deadline, they'll have no reason to keep someone who makes a shipload of money and is past his prime. Would the Giants take back Sandoval to platoon with Matt Duffy at the hot corner? Would Red Sox agree to eat on a chunk of his five-year, $95-million contract to make it happen?

Don't count on it. Sandoval has blown up too many bridges in his old clubhouse, and if any team understands the importance of team chemistry, the Champs are the one.

THE QUOTE: A's broadcaster Ray Fosse after the team blew a 4-0 lead in the eighth inning: “I think we'll fly commercial.”


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