Stacy Bengs/Associated Press
Referees Marat Kogut and Leon Wood drew the ire of the Warriors bench for two calls that ultimately helped give the Timberwolves a 131-130 overtime victory. The first came with 4.4 seconds left in overtime, when Kogut said Keita Bates-Diop fouled Kevin Durant before he took a game-tying three. At first, Durant appeared to set up a four-point play that could have won the game for Golden State.
“If you look at the play … [Bates-Diop] lost me for a quick second,” Durant told reporters. “And when I caught the ball, I knew they were going to foul. And I got it up quick, and he had two hands on me as I was going into my shot. … [Kogut] was the best player on the floor. He’s so good with his whistle, he knew they were going to foul me before I shot the ball. So he’s one of the greatest refs of all time.”
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Kevin Durant shares everything he thinks about the calls https://t.co/Zo5bGXohKH
Stephen Curry knocked down a three on the Warriors’ ensuing possession to tie the game at 130, but another whistle then handed the game to Minnesota. Wood called Durant for a touch foul on Karl-Anthony Towns as the Wolves attempted to inbound the ball, sending him to the line for game-winning free throws.
“It’s just tough when your effort like that gets sabotaged for sure,” Curry said. “I’ve been back there looking at those calls over and over and over again and still don’t understand either one of them. KD four-point play which puts pressure on them with four seconds left to have to get a bucket.
“And at the end of the game, nobody wants to see a game end like that. A crazy pass that had no chance of being caught and a soft foul that should never have been called to decide the game like that. Guys out there fighting their ass off to play and compete and win the game by playing basketball, so it’s a tough way to go out.”
Curry called Kogut the “MVP of tonight” when asked which of the calls he found more egregious.
Green’s criticism was more subtle, but the league slapped him with the biggest fine. The Warriors forward tweeted out the initials of Kogut and former ref Tim Donaghy, not-so-subtly implying the game was fixed:
“All you need is one time,” Durant said of the foul call. “All you need to see it is once. I mean, late in the game, can you be physical that late in the game? I didn’t extend my arms on the push; I didn’t grab; I didn’t impede anybody’s movement. Plus the ball was already out of bounds. I mean, would you call that one late? Nah. My little brother probably wouldn’t have called that one; they need to just let us play. They should’ve let us play. We should still be playing right now.”
The loss put the Warriors back into a tie with the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference. Golden State holds the tiebreaker, but with a matchup against Denver coming Tuesday, those calls could wind up playing a huge factor in which team gets home-court advantage in a potential Western Conference Finals showdown.