Game one of the 2019 playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets went down to the wire. Yet, not without controversy.
The Rockets were not happy with a number of non-calls specifically on three-point attempts by Chris Paul and James Harden. It appeared that the Warriors defender did not give enough space to land. Replays showed a much different story. It was Paul and Harden jumping in or kicking their legs out in attempt to draw the foul.
There were two technical fouls given to the Rockets in the third quarter. Paul then picked up his second late in the fourth after apparently making contact with a referee after Harden missed a three. Stephen Curry made the free throw to seal the victory Golden State.
Draymond Green for the Warriors picked up a technical in the second quarter.
As for the game itself Golden State led most of the way and late in the second quarter led by nine points. Then turnovers became the story and Houston took advantage with Paul and Eric Gordon making threes and by halftime the game all tied up.
Houston managed to build a lead of four early in the third until Klay Thompson scored five straight points. Then Kevin Durant took over like he did against the Los Angeles Clippers scoring 15 of his 35 points.
Curry picked up his fifth foul with a little over eight minutes remaining and after a foul by Andre Iguodala leading to free throws for Harden it seemed the Rockets were likely going to steal game one from the Warriors.
Houston managed to tie the game up with Curry sitting for about a minute and a half. Durant then took advantage of being defended by Nene and Paul by getting to the free throw line or shooting over the shorter defender. Golden State clung to a three-point lead with a little four and a half minutes remaining. A steal by Curry leading to a dunk by Iguodala pushed the lead to give. Gordon then buried a long three to get the Rockets within two.
After Durant made a fadeaway jumped, Iguodala picked up his fifth foul sending Harden to the line. He made one of two. With Nene out and the Rockets going small, allowing the Warriors the opportunity to come up with key offensive rebounds.
Mike D’Antoni elected to bring Nene back in. Resulting in him switching to Curry on defense. It didn’t work as he made the three giving Golden State a five point lead. After a timeout, Harden scored an easy dunk with 21.3 seconds remaining.
Surprisingly after Durant got the ball stolen on the in-bounds the Warriors did not foul. Harden got a look at a three and missed. He again tried to draw a foul on the shot and didn’t get it. The ball went out-of-bounds and last touched by the Rockets, Warriors ball.
For Houston Harden scored 35 points and dished out six assists, Gordon added 27 points and Paul chipped in with 17 points.
Durant scored 35 and added five rebounds, Curry 18 points and seven rebounds, Green added 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and Iguodala chipped in also with 14.
Here’s a look at some of the reactions from the game one win.
If I had to guess: GSW probably sent in film pre-game of JH kicking his legs out to emphasize their right to contest his stepback w/o invading his landing area which moves when Harden kicks forward. W/o any inside info, it looks like refs were ready to hold the whistle on those. https://t.co/0BffnwXucK
— Bryan Oringher (@ScoutWithBryan) April 28, 2019
Joe Borgia, NBA Senior Vice President of Replay & Referee Operations, joined @NBATV to discuss two plays from #HOUatGSW and what constitutes a foul in cases of defenders closing out on shooters: pic.twitter.com/wxgVEg6tWB
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) April 29, 2019
“I just want a fair chance, man. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called and we’ll live with the results.”
James Harden voiced his opinion about the officiating after Game 1. pic.twitter.com/9GmtB2EjPp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 28, 2019
Draymond did not want to hear about James Harden’s comments about officiating during Game 1. pic.twitter.com/u75tf43ULO
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2019