An assist away from his 15th triple-double of the season, Russell Westbrook was ejected after being hit with two quick technical fouls with 2:50 remaining in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 95-88 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, prompting teammate Carmelo Anthony to say he’s “done” with referees. “I’m done with them,” Anthony said, cutting off a question about the officials. “I’m done with the refs. No disrespect, but I’m done with those guys.”
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Asked if he and Westbrook need to be more aware of the situation when picking up technicals, Donovan was direct. “I don’t, because the official made a terrible mistake, and he acknowledged it,” Donovan said. “I was yelling to the other official across the floor to get his attention and the guy just T’d me up. And he came by and apologized to me, so I definitely didn’t deserve a T. I know when I deserve one. I didn’t get a full glimpse to see what Russell did at that moment, so I’m not going to comment for him, but I know what happened with me and that was really, really unfortunate and [the official] even acknowledged that.
KC Johnson: As expected, the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report states that Kris Dunn fouled Reggie Bullock on his game-tying layup at the buzzer.
Eric Koreen: DeMar on refs: “It’s frustrating being out there feeling like you’re playing five-on-eight. It’s just what it feels like, period. Some of them calls were terrible, period.”
DeRozan’s comments will be examined by the league office for a potential fine. The Raptors trailed 81-54 at halftime and shot four more free throws than the Warriors. But Toronto coach Dwane Casey didn’t like the timing of calls that didn’t go his team’s way.
Cuban tweeted: “Watching end of Warriors Raptors. Refs can’t go back in time for a review. They can only review the out of bounds event. #protestable” Cuban’s point: The refs should have been looking only at the Curry portion of the play and not DeRozan’s involvement. Said DeRozan: “I thought you couldn’t even do that. I’m not even a referee, and I know that rule. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.”
Ryan Wolstat: Fred VanVleet; “I don’t make enough to talk about officiating calls.”
“Yeah, definitely,” VanVleet said, when asked if it’s difficult to play through debatable calls that go against his team. “But, you know, that’s a part of the game. There’s ups and downs to it. There’s times where you get them and times where you don’t. You’ve got to be able to adapt and adjust. And, obviously, you can’t give a team like that that type of lead. But, coming down the stretch, you’d like some of those [calls] to go your way. “In the mix of the game, you don’t really have time to dwell on it. But you come to the locker room after and you start adding them up — you start looking back at some that could have went your way. But that’s the way the game goes sometimes.”
“There was just so many calls down the stretch, I’ve got to look at them and see,” Casey said. “It’s just mind-boggling that you ask the official, ‘Did you see it?’ ‘Nah, I didn’t see it, wasn’t my call.’ I’ve got to have an explanation. I have all the respect in the world for our officials, but when you’re in and have that situation — our guys fighting their hearts out and again maybe they thought we didn’t deserve it the way we played in the first half, I don’t know. But the way they scraped in the second half. It blows my mind, and I think we have the best officials in the world.”
Scott Agness: LeBron is at the Cavs’ TV courtside position checking out the review for himself, swearing that he didn’t step on the baseline. Pacers’ ball, 2.3 seconds left.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver admits that the rash of fines doled out on players for criticizing refs are more symbolic than actual deterrents. “We recognize that the fines — while nobody likes to lose the money — in many ways are more symbolic than anything else when you have players as wealthy as they are,” Silver said.
“I’m listening to the players’ complaints, and I’m also listening to the referees’ complaints,” Adam Silver said. “And I’d say although it seems to be getting a fair amount of attention, we’ve looked back at the data from over the years and there haven’t been a greater number of ejections or a greater number of technicals. There is nothing aberrational happening in terms of the calls on the floor, but it’s something that people are talking about, I recognize that.”
The difference, according to Silver, is the added focus on the refs in the age of technology. “Nothing has changed other than there is so much more scrutiny than there used to be.” “Every bit of audio is captured now. Every single moment that happens on the floor is captured on high-definition video. And it’s amplified in ways we didn’t see historically. There really aren’t any private moments.
Tim MacMahon: Chris Paul didn’t seem surprised that ref Scott Foster called him for a technical foul: “There’s history there. He the man. That’s who they pay to see.” espn.com/espn/now?nowId… pic.twitter.com/cc4HPPyZke
After months of high-profile ejections and superstar frustrations in the NBA, and with tensions between players and officials so high that their respective heads of state spent more than two hours meeting on the matter in December, the two sides finally agree on one thing: Something must be done to relieve all this tension.
According to National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, that private meeting – which will include three players on one side, three officials on the other and potentially a moderator – will take place on Feb. 17 during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. And for the sake of all involved, they’re hoping this rarest of scenes leads to some resolution.
“(The meeting) is shaping up,” Roberts, who hosted National Basketball Referees Association general counsel Lee Seham for that two-plus hour meeting last month at the NBPA’s office in New York, told USA TODAY Sports by phone. “The conversations will not be open to the public. I think if the aim is to have candid discussion between the players in attendance and the officials in attendance, I think it needs to be done without a third party, including, frankly, even perhaps me or others being there.”
A clear reference to his comments after the Celtic game when he spoke about the lack of respect he and his team are getting from officials. Dinwiddie was asked about his comment after the Raptors game. “I think the statement is very self-explanatory. People are going to be looking for a sound bite after what I said last game. Hey look man, ya’ll saw the game but at this point I was respectful in my response to what happened. We as a team have to play through it. Q (Quincy Acy) apparently didn’t go vertical against Jimmy Butler. Minnesota’ got to do better at that. Q’s gotta do better holding on to the ball even though he got his wrist hit. I have to better on dunking (on Serge) Ibaka even though I got my wrist hit.
Anthony Puccio: Kenny Atkinson on officiating: “Spencer had his own take on the refereeing on the fact he doesn’t feel you guys are getting the deserved respect that he thinks team should get, is this brought up in locker room, boiling over, a sentiment that kind of has been floating around.” “…I have the utmost respect for those guys. I think they do a great job. It’s the hardest game in the world to referee, I think. I’ve ref’d youth basketball and (I’ve had) parents yelling at me. I just know how hard it is. It’s a hard job.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green has yet another reason to feel upset with the NBA. The league fined Green $25,000 on Monday for criticizing the officiating. Following the Warriors’ 121-105 win over the Clippers on Saturday, Green told the Athletic that the NBA’s officials are “ruining the game” and described their officiating as “horrible” and “really bad.”
Green, who has a league-leading 11 technical fouls this season, will serve a one-game suspension without pay if he is called for five more technical fouls. Green also has been fined a combined $29,000 for his technical fouls this season as well as an additional $25,000 for “confronting” Washington forward Bradley Beal and “failing to disengage” from him during their on-court scuffle in a regular-season game in late October.
The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green told The Athletic on Saturday that the ongoing friction between the NBA’s officials and players is “ruining the game.” Green, who picked up his 11th technical foul of the season in the Warriors’ 121-105 victory over the LA Clippers on Saturday, told the website that officials are making things personal and the problem is one of the No. 1 issues that needs to be solved by the league.
“It’s bad,” Green told the website. “It’s horrible. It’s really bad. I don’t know why it is. But I think it’s ridiculous. It’s ruining the game. … It should be one of, if not the main priority, to be solved. It definitely should.”
The fed-up Green even proposed that the NBA should start fresh at the officiating position. “They can get a new crop [of officials], a whole new crop,” Green told the website. “Too many personal things going on. Too much me against you. It just don’t work that way.”
The fiery Green believes there’s two sides to this story and referees have taken it way too far in what he calls a toxic situation. “It’s bad,” Green told Anthony Slater of The Athletic on Saturday. “It’s horrible. It’s really bad. I don’t know why it is. But I think it’s ridiculous. “It’s ruining the game. It should be one of, if not the main priority, to be solved. It definitely should.”
“A lot of it is personal,” Green says. “When you give someone so much authority and they make it me against you, you can’t overcome that.” If he gets to 16 technical fouls this year, Green will be suspended for one game. Green toed the line last season with 15 and has 57 for his career. So, what does the Warriors’ All-Star forward believe is the solution? A new start with new referees. “They can get a new crop (of referees), a whole new crop,” Green said. “Too many personal things going on. Too much me against you. It just don’t work that way.”
Brian Robb: Kyrie Irving on the late-game physicality: “It was like playing ‘throw it up’ in football. That’s what it really was. You have one person gathering the ball and everybody just trying to tackle that one person. I felt like that’s what we were playing down the stretch.”
The Rockets have withdrawn their protest of the Dec. 22 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, an individual with knowledge of the decision said on Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no announcements regarding the action or more recent decision had been made.
On the heels of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game-winning bucket, on which the Milwaukee Bucks star stepped on the baseline before finishing a dunk to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA’s competition committee will add that type of play to the agenda for discussion at its meeting in March, league spokesman Tim Frank said Saturday.
The competition committee will look at a number of solutions to such a situation, Frank said. If any change is made, it would not be implemented until the 2018-19 season. It is also possible no changes will be made.
“The only thing is I’m getting upset and I never want be the guy yelling at the refs,’’ Porzingis said. “But these games I want to win so bad and all those details matter and affects the game. I always try to stay calm during the game, but it’s hard because you want to do good for your team. I’m trying not to think about it when I’m playing, but during the game the adrenaline and emotions, it’s getting to me a bit.’’
The trick in not picking up technical fouls, Porzingis says, is sprinting back on defense with vigor after a perceived non-call. “When something like that happens, I look at the ref,’’ Porzingis said. “If I say something I try to delete it and sprint back. When I’m sprinting back, I’m already not thinking about it. That’s how I cut it off at that moment.’’
In the NBA’s official Last Two Minute Report from the Bucks win over the Thunder, the NBA confirmed that Giannis Antetokounmpo did step out of bounds on what eventually was the game-winning shot. Referee Leon Wood just missed it. (Also, the NBA ruled that Antetokounmpo did not travel on that last shot, remember he gets a gather step as he takes control of the ball, then his steps — Antetokounmpo can cover a lot of ground in a couple of steps.)
The Sixers’ locker room was silent. Players sat at their stalls without saying a word. They had lost 15 games before Thursday night, but this one was another blown lead — a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, at that — that left them quiet inside the Moda Center following a 114-110 defeat. The free throw disparity made just as much of an impact as the 20 points allowed off 14 turnovers. The Trail Blazers attempted 47 free throws compared to 14 by the Sixers. Only Ben Simmons went to the line in the fourth (2 for 2) for the Sixers; the Trail Blazers shot 19 for 24 in the quarter. Joel Embiid: “We didn’t get any calls. I thought there was a couple – the big fella, Nurkic, played well, especially in the fourth quarter with five fouls. And I thought there was a couple calls that should have gone our way and him fouling out. He was a big piece of them taking our lead in the fourth quarter.”
Mired in an ugly shooting slump, Kristaps Porzingis made a public plea to the referees for help. Porzingis’ lament – which is not a new one for him – was that his shot is being hindered by touch fouls to the arm during his release. The lack of calls has Porzingis second-guessing his offensive playing style. “It makes me super mad, those little touches on the arm, on the elbow, I know they’re small but they affect my shot so much and I’m confused,” he said. “I’m thinking, ‘Should I change my game?’ Because I shoot those shots so many times over guys and it makes me mad I’m not able to get those calls.”
Kristaps Porzingis’ frustration was visible during Thursday night’s loss to the Spurs, when the Latvian demonstrably explained to an official that he was hit on the arm during a shot attempt. He believes the refs are aware of the issue but haven’t looked close enough. “I try to tell them about it before the games. But I think the refs, they have their own team and they talk about those kind of things so they know what’s going on. They know those are the type of things they have to look at,” Porzingis said. “Maybe it’s too hard to see, I don’t know. Maybe I’m too high up, I’m too long.”
Jonathan Feigen: Harden: “You can’t have two officials in a professional game. There were a lot of no-calls that needed to be called because that changes the dynamic of the game. It’s a professional game, national TV. It can’t happen.”
Eric Woodyard: Draymond Green said the league’s 2-minute report is pointless.
Earl K. Sneed: Me: “You think if you continue to attack like this you’ll eventually get the foul calls?” Dennis Smith Jr.: “I hope, man. I’m taking all these fouls, getting scratches & whatnot. I don’t think my girl like all these scratches to my face.”
The NBA announced in the Last Two Minute Report that officials missed three foul calls on Kevin Durant in the final minute during Golden State’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day. Per the Last Two Minute Report, referees missed a call against Durant with 1:12 left and missed the other two calls on the same LeBron James drive with 26 seconds left.
LeBron James was fouled three times by Kevin Durant in the final 1:12 of Monday’s 99-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute report released on Tuesday evening. The report said James was fouled with 1:12 left in the game when driving to his left by Durant with the Cavs down 95-92. James was also fouled twice on his drive with 26 seconds left with the Cavs down by the same score. The report also stated that James should have been called for a loose ball foul against Draymond Green with 33 seconds left, the play that got the Cavs possession down by three in the final seconds. So, it’s even on that one.
LeBron James said Kevin Durant got away with a foul on him in the final minute of the Golden State Warriors’ 99-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day, while Durant defended the referees’ no-call. “He fouled me twice,” James said of his drive to the hoop with the Cavs down 95-92 when Durant blocked James’ shot and he lost it out of bounds. “But, whatever. What are you going to do about it?”
A reporter told Durant that users on Twitter believed that the 2017 Finals MVP should have been whistled for a foul on the play and Durant, again, claimed his defense was legal. “It felt clean,” he said. “It’s probably the same play a bunch of those dudes on Twitter probably arguing about at 24 Hour Fitness that that wasn’t a foul. They’ve been in that position before, but just not on Christmas at the Oracle Arena. So they know … I’m sure if they get that call next week at 24 Hour Fitness, they’re going to be pissed that they called a foul. So keep that s— on Twitter.”
Tim Bontemps: Kevin Durant is lucky he didn’t get a second technical foul right there. Jose Calderon got called for a foul and Durant shoved him with the ball. Now Draymond Green gets T’d up and continues jawing and Derrick Stafford. Emotions overflowing here early.
The Rockets officially filed a protest from Friday’s game in which a Los Angeles Clippers player should have been disqualified with 3:10 left, a person with knowledge of the protest said Sunday.
Clippers guard Jawun Evans committed a sixth foul, but it was incorrectly given to teammate Lou Williams. An NBA spokesman on Saturday confirmed that the league was aware of the error. The last time the NBA upheld a protest was in 2008 when Shaquille O’Neal was disqualified from a game with five rather than six fouls.
Bobby Marks: Cost of filing a protest for the Rockets is $10,000. The Commissioner has 5 days to respond once the protest is filed. The money will not be refunded if Houston loses the protest.
Tania Ganguli: Luke Walton is spending a while on the officiating and things that confused him. “Every night it’s a different excuse on why we’re not getting calls,” Walton says.
Harden fouled out with 26.6 seconds remaining after scoring 51 points in Friday night’s 128-118 loss to the LA Clippers. He then was ejected after a testy exchange with referee Pat Fraher. Asked the source of his frustration, Harden said, “Bulls— calls.”
Harden was called for four of his six fouls in the final 5:13 as the Rockets attempted to rally. He was twice whistled for offensive fouls late, one of which prompted coach Mike D’Antoni to draw a technical foul for arguing with 2:20 remaining. “I’m tired of hearing, ‘I made a mistake,’ or ‘I didn’t see it,'” said Harden, who also scored 51 points Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, who snapped Houston’s 14-game winning streak. “That’s frustrating when you hear it as a player. I know we all make mistakes, but it’s just frustrating.”
Jim Eichenhofer: Anthony Davis scores on another alley oop, but gets whistled for a technical foul for complaining about a non-foul call. Davis 14 pts
Will Guillory: I can confirm the report from @Marc J. Spears that DeMarcus Cousins is now at 7 technical fouls for the season. He had techs against Memphis (Oct. 18) and Toronto (Nov. 9) rescinded.
DeMarcus Cousins spent Tuesday playing his annual role of “Santa Cuz” as he rewarded 100 underprivileged kids who have excelled in school in his hometown with a $200 Christmas shopping spree. The New Orleans Pelicans center also believes that NBA referees have been in a giving mood this season — assessing him with technical fouls despite Cousins’ feeling that he has been nicer and not as naughty. “I got a tech for saying, ‘Good job, referee,’ ” Cousins said after the Santa Cuz event. “I said, ‘Good job. Good call.’ And I got a tech? I swear to God on my kids. I have yet to have a moment where I just erupt or go off [this season]. I haven’t had one of those, but for some reason I’m still leading the league in techs.”
Referees have called nine technical fouls on DeMarcus Cousins through 29 games this season. Two have been rescinded, a league source said, including the technical for telling the referee, “Good job.”
Cousins said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry and his teammates have told him a quieter approach is better with the referees. While Cousins says he has adopted that quieter mindset this season, it hasn’t worked and he believes referees are allowing him zero leeway because of his reputation. “I am going out of my way. I am going over and beyond,” Cousins said. “I am coming in saying, ‘We can’t do this, this and this …’ Even calls I know I should be arguing, I’m letting go. And they’re still like … it’s a one-sided thing. Everything is changing from one end. But with them, it’s like, ‘We are not letting go of the past. You are who you are. You’re getting a tech.’ So, when it comes to me getting a tech for saying, ‘Good call, referee …,’ vets and coaches tell me to butter them up. Switch it up a little bit. Do a little reverse psychology. Tell them it’s a good call. And you still getting a tech for it? They’re not trying to make it work. They’re stuck in their ways, and it is so obvious.”
Also at the foul line. Houston was 34 for 42; Portland 9 for 12. “It was ridiculous, “Stott said. Did the referees do a poor job calling the game? “Did I say that?” Stotts asked. What did he mean, then? “There was a big disparity,” was all he would say. I’m willing to say the Rockets — especially Harden, who draws fouls like lead to a magnet — got the benefit of the officiating more often than not. “Some were fouls,” Lillard allowed, “and some I didn’t think were fouls.”
Rick Bonnell: Another technical foul for Kemba.
Tania Ganguli: Luke Walton picked up a technical foul between quarters.
Candace Buckner: Re: why officials put 1.1 seconds back on the clock after what should have been the #Wizards’ final shot, and the ball placed on the sideline, Bradley Beal said — no lie — the explanation he received was “the tough sh – – rule.”
Candace Buckner: Crew chief Bill Spooner explains the rule behind #Wizards’ last play: “The wasted time, if you will, the time that they lost, was 1.1. W/ an inbounds at 1.2, that leaves, mathematically, 0.1 & that should have been where we reset it,,.”
Gerald Bourguet: T.J. Warren picks up his 2nd technical and gets tossed. For a guy who doesn’t talk much, he had a lot to say there. #SunsAtRaptors
For the second time in four days — and third time this season — Kevin Durant took an early trip to the locker room in the Warriors win over the Pelicans on Monday night. “I thought he threw us out pretty quick to be honest,” Durant said after the game. “I mean we got in each other’s faces but that’s just how it is. It was late in the game. Everytime I got ejected, I made sure it’s late in the game. I’m not messing up like that … But I have to be more focused than that. I have to be more poised. I can’t let anyone take me off my game.”
“I cant get involved with that type of stuff. I have to stay locked in and stay focused on the game,” Durant said. “I’m not going to fight nobody. I don’t want to get injured. I don’t want to get suspended. I love to play. I love making money for my family. I’m not trying to get suspended and get in no fights with nobody. Nobody on the floor is going to fight. Nobody in the NBA is going to throw no punches. We’re just talking.”
“Every time I get ejected, I make sure it’s late in the game. I’m not messing up like that in the first or second quarter,” Durant said. “I make sure it’s late in the game, if I want to do something. But I have to be more focused than that. I have to be more poised. I can’t let anybody take me off my game. I’ve been in the league for too long, especially [to worry about] someone like Cousins. You know he’s feisty. You know he’s emotional. You know he plays that way. So I can’t get involved with that. That’s who he is, so I have to be me.”
Kerr has found it “absolutely too much” that the Warriors have received three ejections in consecutive games, including two from star forward Kevin Durant. Warriors guard Shaun Livingston also served a one-game suspension on Monday without pay, while official Courtney Kirkland received a one-week suspension for their role in what the league called “an on-court altercation” during the Warriors’ game on Sunday in Miami that led to Livingston’s ejection. “We’re not composed out there. We’re a championship team,” Kerr said. “We have to be poised and we have to execute out there. We’re getting way too emotional, myself included. I have to do a better job of that, too. But you got to show some poise when things aren’t going our way. Stop worrying about everything else and worry about the game.”
Anthony Puccio: Allen Crabbe gets tossed after chucking the ball down the court. Unlike him
Anthony Slater: Draymond Green early technical. Furious he didn’t get a foul call on Cousins on a dunk attempt. Lit into the ref. Bordered on another ejection.
Nick Friedell: Steve Kerr, on the Livingston/Kirkland suspensions: “I thought the league handled it well. I think it was the right decision and we move on.”
Mark Medina: NBA determined Kirkland moved toward Livingston and “shared responsibility for the contact that occurred.” Livingston serves his suspension tonight. He was going to sit anyway for rest, but now he’s docked pay.
Paul George didn’t appreciate the job Sunday night’s officiating crew did during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 90-87 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. George responded, “Next question,” when a reporter asked him about officiating after the game. He did, however, expand after fielding a follow-up question. “It’s hard. It’s hard, especially when the game is being called a certain way, and it’s just cheap fouls,” he said. “On the other end, I try to attack. [If] they gonna call it this way, I’m gonna see if I can pick up some of these cheap fouls that they’re giving and, no call. So, you kinda expect that. When everybody’s out for San Antonio, you really think they’re gonna put them in foul trouble? So, it is what it is.”
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January 16, 2018 | 9:59 pm EST Update
After the Mavericks’ shootaround at Pepsi Center on Tuesday, Dennis Smith Jr. clearly laid out his thoughts on the Verizon Slam Dunk event that will be on Saturday night, Feb. 17, in Los Angeles. “That’s something I’d like to do,” the 20-year-old said. “If I’m given the opportunity, I’m definitely willing to do it. That’s the event that I watched a lot growing up, and it’s probably the most exciting event of the All-Star weekend, except the actual game.”
If the league sticks with four dunkers, that means that a lot of quality rim-benders will be left out. “I don’t know when it happens,” Smith said, adding that he has not heard anything yet about the possibility of being in the event. “But it feels like I should be given the opportunity. It’s not my decision, though.”
Allan Horton: Bjelica postgame on his altercation with Afflalo… “I was just trying to protect myself & thank god I reacted that way [moving back to avoid the punch]. He was wild, I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy but I was just trying to protect myself.”
LeBron James reclaimed his kingdom in China from Stephen Curry — arguably the most popular current NBA star in China — in terms of jersey sales, according to the latest NBA China jersey and merchandise sales for the 2017-18 season.
Kobe Bryant, who retired at the end of the 2015-16 season, finally dropped from the top ranks of jersey sales in China. Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were No. 1 on jersey and team merchandise lists at the beginning of 2017 and fell only to No. 2 by the end of last season.
January 16, 2018 | 9:14 pm EST Update
The reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world. “Definitely. Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game. I like his game,” Glenn Robinson III said. “I know a lot of people do and a lot of fans is excited and that’s the most important part. So I think that he definitely is going to be on that list to be in it.”