The NBA came down harshly Friday in its review of the officials’ crunch-time calls — or lack thereof — in the Houston Rockets‘ 97-96, Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors, saying James Harden‘s game-winning shot should not have counted.
It was among five incorrect calls in the final two minutes, the NBA said in its assessment of officials’ late-game performance dubbed the “Last Two Minute Report.”
On the replay from Thursday night’s game, it appeared Harden pushed off Golden State’s Andre Iguodala before converting a 10-foot, step-back jumper with 2.7 seconds to play. The league said Harden initiated contact with Iguodala before hitting the basket.
Harden, who finished with 35 points, then took the ball downcourt and stepped back for the jump shot to win it.
“The last shot was typical of what James does,” Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The move, we’ve seen before. The finish, we’ve seen before. You do get spoiled by it at times, but in these biggest of moments, you can’t help but appreciate it.”
Golden State had a chance to win the game after Harden’s shot, butDraymond Green dribbled the inbounds pass off his foot and out of bounds.
“I cost us the game,” Green said. “The world will think I’m talking about that last turnover, but I’m not. That happens. I was awful the whole game. I care about that turnover, but I cost us the game way before then.”
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