After the Warriors leapt out to a 19-point third-quarter lead against the Wolves tonight, Minnesota responded with a nutty 50-22 run, only to falter at the end of regulation. That was probably fine for fans, since the game had been an entertaining back-and-forth contest, and five minutes of free basketball promised a fittingly exciting resolution.
The first three-and-a-half minutes were unfortunately one-sided, as Minnesota took a nine-point lead with 1:41 left that seemed large enough to win them the game. But the Warriors have Steph Curry, which means no deficit is too steep. Curry finished the game with 11 threes, and three of those came in the final 1:33.
His last one was utterly ludicrous. Pinned in the corner by Jerryd Bayless, Curry faded away and tossed one in with 0.5 seconds left. As he ran up the court, he pointed at a referee and taunted him along with several of his teammates.
Curry even kept at it during the break.
The Warriors were pissed because Kevin Durant should have tied the game up and maybe even won it with a made three and a foul. The officials inexplicably said Keita Bates-Diop made contact with Durant before the shooting motion, which meant the Warriors had to draw up another out of bounds play.
Half a second should not have been enough for the Wolves to do anything but catch a lob, yet the referees whistled Kevin Durant for a hold on Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns hit a free throw, and the game ended with the Warriors furious.
Steve Kerr called the officiating “mind-boggling,” and he really has a point. Bates-Diop only touched Durant for a tiny bit, and the contact clearly came while he was raising to fire. As for the Towns foul, Towns seemed to pull back as if Durant was seriously impeding him, but he didn’t appear to be too attached, and Towns looked like he was looking back at a dreadful inbounds pass.
Unlike seasons past, the Warriors can’t start resting quite yet, since the Nuggets are still tied up with them for the top seed in the Western Conference. They’ll meet Tuesday to most likely decide who gets the right to host the Western Conference Finals should they meet.
Update, 3/30, 1:13 p.m. ET: Curry and Durant went off on the officials after the game, as expected. Curry called Mark Kogut the “MVP of the night.”
Durant sarcastically called the official who whistled the non-shooting foul “one of the greatest refs of all time” for calling the foul so quickly.