Of all the Christmas NBA games the best match-up featured the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena. Instead of conversations about a tremendous game between two outstanding Western Conference teams that went down to the wire and now it is about the referees specifically in the fourth quarter.
After the third quarter ended Warriors forward Draymond Green swung an elbow that went to the throat area of Blake Griffin. As the replay indicated referee Bill Kennedy ruled a flagrant two for Green meaning an automatic ejection the right call and Griffin didn’t seem to react received a technical foul as well. Just a few minutes later the Clippers power forward got tangled up with Warriors center Andrew Bogut and again Kennedy reviewed what happened. The ruling a flagrant foul one for Bogut and a technical for Griffin and with that being his second he got ejected.
Ryan Hollins made one of two free throws and Darren Collison pushed the Los Angeles lead to three points with a jumper. After a miss by Stephen Curry, Jamal Crawford extended the lead to five. Harrison Barnes on the next offensive possession for the Warriors made one of two free throws after being fouled by DeAndre Jordan and Klay Thompson buried a three to get within one, Barnes got to the free throw line again this time drawing the foul on Chris Paul making both free throws giving Golden State the one point lead.
The lead became two after Curry found a cutting David Lee who made a layup while getting fouled by Jordan and made the free throw to complete the three-point play. With just over four minutes remaining it became the Paul and Curry show as both point guards were able to make tough shots though it was Barnes drawing a foul on Crawford and making the two free throws to put Golden State up 105-103. After a time out Collison missed a three from the corner and a turnover by Lee Los Angeles still got chances to either tie the game or retake the lead.
Instead Paul missed a jumper, the Warriors cleared out top of the key for Barnes who inexplicable went for a fadeaway jumper and airballed it from about 20 feet away. He made up for it with his defense as he forced a missed layup by Paul. Thompson came up with the rebound got the ball up to the court to Andre Iguodala and he missed both free throws. Paul again drove to the hoop this time Kent Bazemore got into great defensive position to take a charge did not get a call and Thompson came up with the block on hislayup attempt and of course Paul came out of the play looking for a whistle and didn’t get one.
Replays indicated no contact and a clean block also a good no call on a block or charge call. Still the reaction by the Clippers All-Star point guard warranted a technical foul, yet did not get called. With one second left Crawford attempted a game winning three that fell short and the Warriors hung on for the victory.
Tonight the best game of the night got marred by Kennedy and his crew. Griffin didn’t deserve either technical and Bogut didn’t deserve a flagrant one call. Even worse is showing a glaring an example of why NBA fans get frustrated with the officiating as Paul doesn’t get a technical due to his status as a Superstar, yet if it had been Curry arguing for a call like Paul there would have been a technical called.
For the Clippers Paul led the way with 26 points, 11 assists, 2 rebounds and two steals, Griffin registered 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, and Crawford added 19 points.
Leading the way for the Warriors Lee with 23 points and 13 rebounds, Thompson 23 points and five rebounds and Curry added 15 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.
Notes: Bogut and Lee became the first teammates to record 10 or more rebounds in 1o consecutive games since 1978 when Rich Kelley and Truck Robinson accomplished the feat.