The Golden State Warriors had all but the killed the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then they lost. This was famously the case back in June, and it was just as true last night. No amount of well-actuallying—not even after tonight, when the NBA owned up to the referees missing two critical late-game calls that aided the Cavs in their comeback—can change the fact that this was all the Warriors’ fault.
As part of the league’s referee assessment program, the NBA reviewed the tape of last night’s headlining Christmas game and made their findings public. Specifically, they pointed out two instances where the refs made the wrong call in a couple huge spots.
The first was after the Cavs took their first lead since the first quarter when, with a little over a minute and a half left in the game, LeBron James threw down a monster dunk and let himself and his nuts shake and hang on the rim for a frankly ridiculous amount of time:
Obviously, this technically should’ve gotten LeBron T’d up for intentionally hanging on the rim, as the NBA admitted tonight. Just as obviously, however, the no-call was spiritually the correct decision, seeing as not a single God-fearing, fun-loving, techno-libertarian scum-hating human on the planet didn’t love seeing King James rub the Warriors’ noses in the shit that was just beginning to trickle down their own legs.
The technical-that-wasn’t was the lesser of the missed calls, though. As obvious as that error was, Richard Jefferson’s trip on Kevin Durant during the game’s final sequence was even more egregious of a foul that went uncalled:
So yes, the Warriors should’ve been shooting a free throw immediately after LeBron’s insultingly awesome dunk, and Durant should’ve gone to the line with a chance to win the game after Jefferson tripped him. But Steph Curry, the league’s two-time reigning MVP, also should’ve done better than going 4-11 from the field in the game, and the Warriors should’ve been able to close out a game in which they at one point had a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Warriors did their best to blow that game in embarrassing fashion well before these two mistaken calls came into play. And that’s on them.