OAKLAND (AP) — The fact that the NBA acknowledged missing a late travel call on Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook did little to appease Golden State coach Steve Kerr a day later.
When told that NBA senior vice president for replay and referee operations Joe Borgia went on NBA TV after the game and said Westbrook did drag his pivot foot before calling timeout with 17.2 seconds to play and Oklahoma City leading by three, Kerr let out a sarcastic response.
“Yes! Yes!” he said after practice Tuesday. “Yes, that’s awesome.”
The play happened with the Warriors trailing 105-102 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night and denied them a chance at a potential game-tying 3-pointer.
After the timeout, Westbrook was fouled and made one free throw to make it a two-possession game and the Thunder went on to win 108-102. The NBA also acknowledged in its Last Two Minute Report released Tuesday that officials missed a travel call on Golden State’s Stephen Curry after Westbrook’s made foul shot. But that had little impact on the game because Curry missed the shot.
Kerr said he would prefer that the NBA not announce when officials blow calls but he understands why the league does it.
“I don’t like the practice,” he said. “I appreciate the NBA trying to be transparent, but it’s unfair to the officials. I feel like it throws them under the bus. They have an impossible job. They really do. And there are going to be bad calls both ways every game. They’re never going to be perfect. They’re doing the best they can. I don’t think there’s any point personally in exposing bad calls. It doesn’t serve a purpose to me.”
At Thunder practice at the University of San Francisco, coach Billy Donovan didn’t want to discuss Kerr or the Warriors’ late-game frustrations.
“I felt like our guys played through the adversity or the challenges in the game. There were a lot of things, I think, that probably could have gotten our team sideways,” Donovan said.
“We just kept playing, and that’s what you’ve got to do. They’re capable of going on huge runs and you’ve got to be able to withstand that emotionally to be able to keep your composure and keep your focus and come back on whatever the next play is, offense or defense, with the same level of intensity and enthusiasm.”