This will be known as "the ref game" a few years from now. It was bound to happen when you have Harden and Paul on one side and Draymond and KD on the other. The entire season was filled with questionable calls and more and more egregious reactions for players. When you tolerate it during the regular season, of course, the comments will become harsher in the playoffs when the stakes are higher.
Last night, the Rockets drew the shorter end of the stick. Ten seconds left, Rockets were down 3 points, and Harden took a three. Draymond jumped with a strong contest, and there was some contact. The refs stayed silent, Paul grabbed the rebound but Harden was still on the floor - the play fell apart. Paul complained to the refs and got ejected, Game 1 for the Warriors.
I still think Harden's step back is a travel a lot of times and don't buy the "gather step," so what do I know. The way the refs interpreted the shooters protected space was inconsistent the entire season. In my opinion, if the shooters jumps forward into the defender that shouldn't be a foul, otherwise what chance does the defender have? According to that, I don't think Draymond fouled Harden on this play, and Draymond agrees.
When you land 3 feet ahead of where you shoot the ball from, that really ain't my issue.
When it comes to the whole game? Who the hell knows, there was everything. Both teams got away with some stuff that was called in the regular season. Both teams slid under the shooter at times (the Rockets under Steph and Klay, both dealing with rolled ankle issues), so neither one has the high ground. I also don't like the fact everyone seems to accept contact is called differently in the playoffs, the old "let them play" thing. A foul is a foul, in October or May.
Yet, the overall feeling is the Rockets have more to complain about. The thing is, it doesn't resonate with me because they are the no.1 foul hunting team and often I believe they get the calls they shouldn't get. So tonight, they got the treatment most teams get anyway. A team that plays the boundaries of the rules will suffer more from such criteria.
For instance, the push-off Harden does on Draymond in the last play is also something that should/could be called. I already mentioned the step-back. The most important thing is that the criteria is the same for both teams, wrong or right. According to Mike D'Antoni, the refs admitted they made a mistake.
They just came at halftime and said they missed it. They missed four of them. That's 12 foul shots. So Be It. They are trying to do the best that they can do. Obviously, it was what it was.
By the way, basketball was played as well. The Warriors won 104 - 100, you could see Steph and Klay were not a 100%, but that's why they have KD, who scored 35 and feasted on mismatches all night long.
An interesting series just began and we hope the rest of our coverage will be more about the game and less about the refs. Don't forget, that depends on the refs AND the players.