Marcus Smart stood in front of his locker in the Toyota Center’s visiting locker room, half undressed, ranting about the officiating. There’s a good chance he’s not the first opposing player to stand in that spot doing that exact same thing. He will almost certainly not be the last. This is what the Rockets, especially James Harden, do. They draw a lot of fouls, they take and lot of free throws, and by the end of it, someone on the other team is a muttering mess.
“I think Russ and James shot 31 between the two and our team only shot 25,” Smart said after he had calmed down some. “That’s a big discrepancy.”
Smart, though, might lose some money, because he was less forgiving. “The way the game is being called, we didn’t know how physical we could be, because when we were physical we were being called, so it kind of made us hesitant and put us on our heels," he said. "Anytime you fearful of fouling, that’s kind of what happened.”
Some of Smart’s frustration stems from not feeling he’s getting a benefit of the doubt. As he’s done in the past, Smart feels like he doesn’t have the respect of the officials. “Thought I did. First team all defense, one of the best defensive players in the league, I would think so. Up for defensive player of the year, they’re talking, but obviously not," he said. “Continue to keep working. I mean, we have Jayson Tatum, we have Kemba Walker, all-stars, we have Jaylen Brown, potential all-star, we have Gordon Hayward, was an all-star. We got star guys, too. If that’s the case we should be getting the same calls that those stars are getting.”
Erik Horne: Marcus Smart, who hasn't played in 10 minutes because of foul trouble, felt compelled to come over after the halftime buzzer and argue with officials. Celtics coaches had to step in between him and officials while everyone was walking off the floor. Technical foul on Smart.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will not be fined by the league for his postgame remarks and tweets directed at officials following a missed goaltend that resulted in a loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Lillard was interviewed by the league on Saturday, sources said.
Sources said the explanation officials provided to a few members of the Trail Blazers on the court at the time of the controversy was that it “wasn’t even close” to a goaltend, which further infuriated the team. "We get to the last play of the game, and they miss an easy call," Lillard said during his postgame address after the 117-114 loss. "And then they tell us that's an easy no-call, like that was obviously not a goaltend. It cost us a f---ing game, man.”
Mark Cuban: This is not an aberration. In our Jan 25th game the NBA admitted there were 3 missed goaltends IN A SINGLE QUARTER ! They blamed the misses on mechanics. ‘That’s something the NBA should look at’: Donovan Mitchell and Jazz agree league officials’ failures deseret.com/sports/2020/2/…
Andy Larsen: C.J. McCollum on the foul: “It cost us a game. We’re competing for a playoff spot. The explanation I got pissed me off... makes me think you’re not capable of doing the job the way you’re supposed to. Which means you should be reprimanded and you should be fined accordingly.”
Andy Larsen: Carmelo Anthony on the call: “I guess we’re just supposed to take this L and go back to Portland... I would rather lose fair and square. I would have rather the Jazz beat us fair and square.” pic.twitter.com/gat3u6M1bA
It wasn’t just the Blazers that knew the officials were wrong. One by one, Jazz players said that they saw the replay and saw clear goaltending, including the offender. “Obviously after watching the replay you can see that it was goaltending,” Gobert said.
Casey Holdahl: The other thing that really seems to be sticking in the collective craw of the team was the explanation from the officials. According to multiple players, officials said it “wasnt even close” to a goaltend.
Chris Haynes: As @CHold reports, sources say Portland players were told by officials that Damian Lillard’s layup attempt “wasn’t even close” to a goal tend. One of the most horrific no-calls you’ll ever see.
Casey Holdahl: I’ve known @Dame_Lillard since his predraft workout in Portland. I have never, EVER, seen him as mad as he was in the postgame locker room. Pure, uncut anger.
Jamie Hudson: Talked w/ tonight's referees. Here's the question I asked: Was Lillard’s shot reviewable for a goaltend, and if so, why was it not reviewed? "No, it was not reviewable, since no goaltending call was made on the floor. Goaltending is only reviewable if we actually call it."
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA fines Orlando coach Steve Clifford $25K for "abusing" officials in Thursday loss to Knicks --- after L2M report concluded that officials failed to see/hear him asking for timeout with 4.4 seconds left and missed a foul call on Knicks with four seconds left.
Gina Mizell: For some context, Ayton defended Giannis quite a bit in a #Suns win over Milwaukee last March -- and quite good. "I love that battle...if you have the MVP, and you know a guy can compete. It was 1-on-1 last year...the fouls really changed up our defense."
Oleh Kosel: Mike Malone has been tossed out! Wow. His assistants had to physically restrain him before exiting the arena. He wasn't happy with the late foul call on Brandon Ingram -- although it seemed to be the right call albeit late.
Andre Drummond: If the roles were reversed I’d be ejected and probably suspended...... sad I’m good though, thanks to everyone who was concerned 🦋
Taking to journalists after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the win against the Boston Celtics on Thursday evening, Giannis Antetokounmpo confessed that can improve in terms of earning fouls. “The way NBA is built, it wants you to flop. It kinda wants you be weak,” the Greek Freak noted, “When you’re strong and going through contact, they don’t call the foul.”
Attempted 20 free throws for the night anyway. Made ten of those shots en route for the team-high 30 points. Accounted for 17 rebounds, seven dimes and a pair of blocks as well. “That’s not who I am. I am just going to going to power through the contact,” he added, “Sometimes they are going to grab me or push me. I got to show it more. I think I’ve done a better job showing it more.”
John Denton: According to the NBA’s Last 2 Minute report, @Phoenix Suns G Devin Booker should have been called for a foul when @Orlando Magic C Nikola Vucevic posted up with 22.1 seconds left. Down 2, Vucevic lost the ball after “Booker (PHX) wraps Vucevic (ORL) in the post,” per the L2M report.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan said Jimmy Butler should have been given a second technical foul, resulting in an automatic ejection, after T.J. Warren’s ejection during Wednesday’s Heat win at Indiana. “They said [Warren] was clapping at Butler, but Butler was also kissing at him,” McMillan said. “None of the officials saw [Butler blowing kisses]. Both guys should’ve been ejected in that situation. Emotions, they’re going to happen.”
Only Warren was ejected, for clapping his hands in Butler’s face after Butler was called for an offensive foul against him. “We needed to see some fight,” McMillan said. “We needed to see some scrap. I like that Warren was trying to get aggressive defensively and Butler reacted to the pressure defense. I don’t think it was anything dirty by Warren. He didn’t slam him to the floor or anything. Butler responded by getting into his face.”
Jay King: Kemba Walker said he thought the ref missed a call, he voiced his opinion and the rest was history. “It was his choice. Obviously it’s on those guys to make a decision. And he made it.”
Jay King: Kemba Walker said it was his first time ever ejected. Pointed out he’s also a two time sportsmanship award winner. Thinks maybe he should get the benefit of a little more leeway.
Will Guillory: The NBA’s L2M report came out and determined that Brandon Ingram was indeed fouled on the final play of last night’s game. pic.twitter.com/WQriV6LEJE
Brad Townsend: @luka7doncic on Rick Carlisle’s assertion that teams are beating the s*** out of him. "It's true, I'm not going to lie, but, you know, it's just basketball. It's a physical game. If the refs see it, they're going to call it. If they don't see it, they're not going to call it. But I've just got to keep going. "
Andrew Greif: A technical foul has been called on Kawhi Leonard. He was being really vocal toward official Eric Dalen earlier, wanting an out-of-bounds call to go the Clippers' way. Doc Rivers spoke to officials at half's end about the tech.
The NBA has seen a rise in offensive numbers over the last 10 years, as the league has prioritized its rules to cater to high-scoring games. While the trend has helped offensive output, it has caught the ire of both Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who hopes to see subtle rule changes going forward. "I would like to see a slight reversal in what we're trying to accomplish as a league," Kerr said prior to Tuesday's game against the Spurs. "I think we've gone overboard in rewarding offensive players. And what I mean by that is we've rewarded offensive players for fooling the officials and attempting to fool the officials."
"I think we need to get back to the point where players need to earn fouls and earn it by beating their man," Kerr said, "and drawing contact in a natural way and not flopping and flailing and grabbing arms and that's going on all over the league. "We have to decide as a league, are we going to call fouls that people would laugh about at a pickup game? That's what we have to decide ultimately. And to me that's where we've gone overboard."
David Locke: Alex Jensen will take over for the Utah Jazz. 2nd time Quin Snyder has been ejected in his career
Scott Kushner: Alvin Gentry ejected. Two techs both called after Hart didn’t get an And-1. But Gentry has been in refs ears all game long.
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams said today he thinks the league did a disservice to Devin Booker for his technical foul yesterday. They were told Booker cussed someone out and Williams and Booker both said that's not the case. Williams said it really bothered him and it wasn't fair to Devin.
Sean Grande: The NBA's L2M report confirms Josh Richardson fouled Jaylen Brown on the Tatum inbound with :25.7 left. The no-call, arguably in a dead-ball situation, instead resulted in a turnover essentially ending the game. The streak of L2M reports making no one feel better continues.
Eric Walden: Joe Ingles, after the OKC loss, on the little things adding up: “Quin’s challenged me personally — (during FTAs), usually I’m arguing with the referee or something when I could get our team into where we want to be. And that’s on me. Little things can help us.” pic.twitter.com/vh1VI2uu7K
The NBA announced Monday that it has denied the Houston Rockets' protest of their 135-133, double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs last week. At issue was a James Harden breakaway dunk with 7:50 remaining that would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead. The ball whipped through the net and back over the rim before bouncing off, and the officiating crew mistakenly ruled that Harden missed the dunk and denied Houston coach Mike D'Antoni's attempt to challenge the call.
The league did announce that it has disciplined all three referees from the game for misapplying the coach's challenge rule. The NBA also said it will work with its competition committee to develop procedures to ensure the situation does not reoccur. D'Antoni was unhappy the officials were disciplined. "I hate it for them,'' he said. "They just made a mistake. We all make mistakes. So I hate it. That's probably the worst part of it. They're trying to get it right, and I'm sure they had good intentions.''
Mark Berman: Mike D’Antoni on #Rockets protest being denied by NBA:”I didn’t think we were going to win. It is what it is.” (On the 3 refs being disciplined) “I hate it for them.They just made a mistake.We all make mistakes. That’s probably the worst part of it.They’re trying to get it right” pic.twitter.com/rusJP4Br14
Jonathan Feigen: NBA denies Rockets protest of loss to Spurs. "While agreeing that the referees misapplied the rules, Commissioner Silver determined that the Rockets had sufficient time to overcome the error during the remainder of the fourth quarter and two subsequent overtime periods."
Ben Golliver: NBA has denied Rockets' protest of recent loss to Spurs. Adam Silver agreed referees "misapplied rules" but determined there was "sufficient time to overcome error" & didn't grant "extraordinary remedy" of protest. Three refs were disciplined for erring on Coach Challenge rule
The Wizards feel like the opposite isn’t happening. Beal gets hit, but it’s not ruled a foul. Then, the same play happens on the other end and Beal ends up getting whistled for hacking an opposing player. “For me, off-ball is something I wrestle with refs all the time about because you’re supposed to have freedom of movement and half the time, I don’t even have freedom to go touch my teammate on the shoulder if I want to,” Beal said. “So, it’s just those things that are frustrating. Things that are blatant, obvious, should be called and (they’re) not called. But us as a team, I gotta be better at being physical, getting more open, stop complaining and we just gotta be better at screening for each other, me setting screens, and just figure out ways. I just can’t keep accepting it.”
Tim MacMahon: Luka Doncic acknowledges that he’s often too animated with officials. “Sometimes I’ve got to calm down and just go to the next play,” he said.
Tom Orsborn: Pop reacts to Rockets protest: "There are calls missed for both teams all through every game. And players miss shots & coaches make bad decisions & you move on. There's never 1 play you can single out & say, ‘That’s the most important thing in the game & that’s why won or lost.'
After officials upheld Toronto Raptors wing OG Anunoby’s charge against still-shuffling Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker on the fourth night of the NBA season, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said from a TD Garden hallway, “I’m 0-for-2 on challenges, and I can’t believe it. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing here. Zero.”
“You see it gradually going up, so I think they are making improvement on successful challenges,” Joe Borgia, the NBA’s senior vice president of replay and referee operations, told Yahoo Sports of the rising success rate for coaches over the season’s first six weeks. “Now, the hard thing about it is, just because they were successful doesn’t mean it benefited them. ... So, I can’t imagine how difficult it is on them.”
Yahoo Sports reached out to all 30 teams seeking input from coaches on their feelings about the challenge through the first quarter of its inaugural season and the strategies they are using to maximize it during this trial campaign. Most declined to go on record, some of whom have publicly denounced it. One coach threw his endorsement behind the newly implemented tactic: NBA Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle. “I believe that any time you have a mechanism that could potentially correct an error in an NBA game that it’s a positive thing,” the Dallas Mavericks coach told Yahoo Sports. “I believe it protects the integrity of the competition, so I like the rule, and I believe as time goes on more and more people will feel the same way.”
Multiple coaches, however, have yet to see the benefit of the challenge. Asked what improvements he might make, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “I would tweak it by getting rid of it altogether. “In fact, I would get rid of all replay if it were up to me, because these stoppages in play just aren’t good for the game,” Kerr told Yahoo Sports. (FYI: His five successful challenges so far trail only Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.) “I’d rather see a good flow in the game. We stop the game for so many reasons, and yet even with replay, we don’t get all the calls right. It’s impossible to get all the calls right in the NBA. It’s such a fast game, and there are so many bang-bang calls that could go either way, so even with replay you see plays on tape all the time that you think you got a raw deal on. In my mind, there should be no replay. “We should just live with the results,” added Kerr.
Tim MacMahon: As @Jonathan Feigen reported, the Rockets are officially filing a protest of Tuesday's loss to the Spurs, sources said. It's to ensure that the league office, which is conducting an investigation, will make a ruling. Deadline to file protest is 48 hours after the game.
Tim MacMahon: Sources: Rockets’ hope is that final 7:50 will be replayed with Houston up by 15 points. Rockets have no expectation that NBA would award them a win based on Houston actually outscoring Spurs in regulation, which was a possibility raised by a Rockets source in wake of the loss.
Jonathan Feigen: Raps coach Nick Nurse seemed incredulous that James Harden was not credited with two points for a dunk. "He should just stand there and say, "Hey, it went in." Yeah it went in. Give him the two points. A lot of people saw it go in.
The Rockets prepared to file a protest of Tuesday’s loss to the Spurs, a person with knowledge of the team’s plans said, with an argument that will cite the James Harden dunk that did not count as an example of a “misapplication of rules.” It will also cite subsequent errors in officials’ failing to grant a coaches’ challenge, though the primary argument is with points not being awarded following a made basket.
Crew chief James Capers, speaking to a pool reporter on Tuesday after the Rockets’ double overtime loss to the Spurs, said after seeing video it was clear that the ball went through the net and the basket should have counted. Capers said the coaches’ challenge was not granted because it was not requested as required within a 30-second window.
Welcome to the opening weeks of the NBA's coach's challenge. ESPN asked head coaches from almost half the league's 30 teams for their input on the challenge system. The views ranged from hostile to constructive, but there wasn't an endorsement to be found. But for all the frustration and bewilderment the new rule has created across the league, don't expect it to go the way of the NBA's synthetic basketball.
Houston had been optimistic in the wake of the loss that the NBA office would take action without a protest being necessary. However, sources said the Rockets are leaning toward filing a protest to ensure that the NBA office will have to make a ruling.
NBA rules require a protest to be filed within 48 hours after a game. Sources said the NBA office has started conducting an investigation that could take longer than the 48-hour window. The Rockets contend that they should either be awarded the win -- because they actually outscored the Spurs in regulation -- or that the final seven minutes, 50 seconds of the game be replayed at a later date. League sources, however, scoffed at the suggestion that the Rockets would be awarded the victory.
The Rockets moved on, arriving in Toronto in time — barely — to see the sunrise on Wednesday. The loss to the Spurs, however, was not entirely behind them. As the NBA began its customary investigation of events that were anything but typical, according to a person with knowledge of the process, the Rockets prepared a protest of their double-overtime loss in San Antonio, unsure if they will file it if necessary.
The Rockets have 48 hours after the game in which to file a protest and will wait for more feedback from the NBA before determining how they will proceed. On Tuesday, on the way to losing a 22-point lead, a dunk by James Harden was disallowed after the ball worked its way through the net and around the front of the rim and nearly in again. The subsequent loose ball was ruled to have gone off Harden. The Rockets still led by 13 with 7:50 to play and were up by 16 shortly after before allowing the Spurs to come back and tie the game and eventually win in overtime.
Albert Nahmad: Rockets have 48 hours (from end of game) to file an official written protest, which must state grounds and include a $10,000 protest fee (refunded if they prevail). Both teams will then need to submit any evidence within 5 days, after which Adam Silver will decide within 5 days.
The Rockets are weighing protesting the game, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said, but will wait to hear from the NBA if it rules without a protest. If a made basket was not credited, the Rockets could be given a two-point win in regulation or more likely have the remainder of the game replayed from that point on. In either case, winning a protest is extremely rare. “They said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was goaltending on James,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “So, I said, ‘I challenge that.’ Then, I didn’t get a response. Then, another guy said it wasn’t a goaltending. It went out of bounds on us, so I said, ‘I’ll challenge that.’ I didn’t get an explanation. I got nothing.
The Houston Rockets are optimistic the NBA office will take action after referees mistakenly did not count a James Harden dunk in Tuesday night's 135-133 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, sources told ESPN. The Rockets are hopeful the league office will either award the victory to Houston due to the Rockets outscoring the Spurs in regulation or order that the final 7 minutes, 50 seconds be replayed at a later date, sources said.
Harden's breakaway dunk with 7:50 remaining would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead. The ball whipped through the net and back over the rim before bouncing off, and the officiating crew mistakenly ruled that Harden missed the dunk and denied Houston coach Mike D'Antoni's attempt to challenge the call. "When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net," crew chief James Capers told a pool reporter. "When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net. We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the most recent example of teams replaying part of a game happened on March 8, 2008, between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Four months earlier, the Hawks defeated the Heat 117-111 at home in overtime, but the official scorer incorrectly ruled that Miami's Shaquille O'Neal fouled out with 51.9 seconds left in the game. The league decided to have Miami and Atlanta replay the final 51.9 seconds before the teams' next scheduled game, and the Hawks ultimately won 114-111.
Officials reviewed the play and agreed that Williams was wrongly called for a blocking foul. What they didn’t acknowledge was the clear charge by Randle, ruling that there was no foul on the play. Randle wasn’t awarded a free throw, but his bucket still counted. This left Stevens flummoxed. Video showed Stevens pleading with referee Josh Tiven before giving up and appearing to say “I’m done with these f---ing challenges. This is unbelievable.”
Harrison Faigen: Danny Green was asked about some calls not going the Lakers' way tonight. "Is that a trap?" He's not getting himself fined.
Before digging into his Thanksgiving meal with family on Thursday, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein looked back at the film from Wednesday’s loss against the Orlando Magic. Well, one specific area: The turnovers. Mainly, the seven travel calls against his team. “I have a call in with the league as well and we are going to talk about them,” Beilein said prior to Friday’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. "We are going to talk about where the travel is happening. You can see, if you slow it down several times, you can see there’s some. But we didn’t all of a sudden start traveling. It hasn’t been called and it was called. That’s what I think we have to figure out.”
Fred Katz: Brooks on the non-calls late: "I thought DB got fouled on his landing. I thought Isaiah got fouled on his landing…They said he kicked his leg, but I saw the replay and it was a foul, but you don’t get them all. You don’t get them all."
On the one hand, the Lakers' 14-2 start to the season is the best that any of James' teams has ever achieved through 16 games, edging the 2016-17 Cleveland Cavaliers' 13-3 mark. On the other hand, James' 27 field goal attempts without attempting a single free throw was the most shots he's ever taken without earning a trip to the line, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. "It's frustrating," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. "LeBron's going to the basket all night long. He took nine 3s, but he's in the paint all night long. ... When your guy's attacking the basket the way he is and getting zero free throw attempts, it's something that can be frustrating."
"I'm living in the paint and if you look at my arm right here, these are four or five [scratches] that happened the last two games, and they weren't called at all," said James, who ended with a game-high 30 points on 14-for-27 shooting.
Gary Washburn: Jaylen Brown on controversial foul on Paul George in loss to LAC: "I touched him but I barely touched him. I'm not trying to get fined but I baaaarely touched him. It wasn't enough to make (the call), I think got bailed out a little bit. It was unlucky." #Celtics
January 19, 2021 | 7:07 pm EST Update
Tony East: Pacers wings TJ Warren and Caris LeVert are OUT tomorrow against the Mavericks. JaKarr Sampson, Myles Turner, and Jeremy Lamb (!) are all officially questionable. Nobody else listed on the injury report.
The Atlanta Dream are on the verge on being sold. Co-owned by former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the team has been embroiled in conflict over her remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement. Dream players were open in their support of Rev. Raphael Warnock, who defeated Loeffler in a runoff election for her senate seat earlier this month. Despite remarks that she did not plan to sell the WNBA franchise, co-owned with Mary Brock since 2011, the league expects an imminent sale.
According to a person familiar with the situation, the Dream have lost $2 million in each of the last two years. It appears Loeffler’s intention involving the Dream have changed. It is not known whether the impending sale would mean the franchise would be moved from Atlanta. They currently are scheduled to play in College Park after last year’s WNBA season was completed in a bubble in Florida due to the coronavirus pandemic.
January 19, 2021 | 6:48 pm EST Update
Keith Pompey: #Sixers SG Seth Curry has been cleared to play in tomorrow’s game vs. #Celtics. He is not listed on the NBA injury report. Curry had missed the last five games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocol after testing positive for COVID-19.