OAKLAND — In the aftermath of the NBA admitting its referees missed a foul call on the final play of the Golden State Warriors’ Christmas Day loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the league’s officials found an unlikely ally in Kevin Durant.
“The refs didn’t lose us that game. We lost that game. We could have been better,” Durant said after the team’s practice on Tuesday. “I think it’s bullshit that the NBA throws the refs under the bus like that.”
On the final possession, Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson tripped Durant, who stumbled to the ground without managing a shot. The league’s “Last Two Minute Report” revealed that a foul should have been called.
“Just move on. Don’t throw the refs under the bus like that,” Durant said. “Because the next game, that group of refs, or whoever it is, is going to ref the game and they’re going to be tense when they’re reffing the game and they’re going to try to get every play right and they’re going to try to be perfect [instead of] going out there and relaxing and making the right call.”
Like Durant, both head coach Steve Kerr and Draymond Green underscored the fact that the officiating crew didn’t cost the Warriors the game.
“If we do what we’ve got to do, it doesn’t come down to that last two-minute report anyways,” Green said. “Not that I care about that report or not. It’s kind of pointless, but yeah, it should have never got to that point.”
Durant also pointed out the inconsistency of the league disciplining players for blasting referees while simultaneously highlighting the blunders of their employees.
“So, you can’t fine us for when we go out there and criticize them, but throw them under the bus for a two-minute report?” Durant said. “What about the first quarter, what about the second quarter, the third quarter? I think it’s bullshit and they should get rid of it. Refs don’t deserve that. They’re trying their hardest to get the plays right, and you look at a play in slo-mo and say it’s wrong? I think it’s bullshit that they do that. That’s full of shit that you throw the refs under the bus like that after the game like it matters. This game’s over. We moving on.”
Green: ‘If I get a tech, so be it’
Even after picking up his seventh technical foul of the season against the Cavs, Green insisted he has no plans to tone down his on-court antics.
“I don’t know what else I can watch [out for],” Green said. “I don’t really talk to [the referees] much anymore. So, no. I don’t know what else to watch at this point. Just continue to be me. Hey, if I get a tech, so be it.”
If the Warriors’ defensive anchor amasses 16 technicals, he will draw a one-game ban.
“I’m going to continue to be the only person that I know how to be,” Green continued. “That’s me. There’s a lot of guys that get home at night and they’re exhausted from acting all day. I only know how to be Draymond. That’s who I’ve been my entire life. That’s who I’m going to continue to be.”
Durant, too, has been quietly racking up Ts. The Warriors’ newest superstar already has six.
Kerr: ‘That’s just strategy’
Kerr said he felt no need to talk to Stephen Curry after leaving the guard on the bench for the final defensive possession against Cleveland.
“That’s just strategy,” Kerr said. “We wanted more length. Shaun [Livingston] gives us a lot of length, the ability to go up get a rebound on a missed shot or if we need to switch something we can switch it like sized. So it’s nothing that needs to be discussed. I mean, every player wants to be out there all the time. But we’re going to do whatever we think is best for the given moment.”
Kerr also added that he doesn’t let the possibility of upsetting the Splash Brother influence his decision making process.
“He’s a big boy. He’s a two-time MVP and he’s an unbelievably mature, thoughtful person,” Kerr said. “He was, I’m sure, upset, the way the game went for him, just like I was upset after the game with my comments talking about our turnovers. We were all upset. But in the end, we’re all together win or lose, and we keep pushing forward.”