There’s an old referring quote that reads along the lines of “a bad ref is a visible ref.” And in what looks to be the premier match up of the 2019 NBA playoffs — a Western Conference Semifinals repeat of last year’s Western Conference Finals between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors — the refs left their fingerprints all over the game.

While the Rockets have spent the better part of the decade figuring out how to draw fouls and push the rules to the limits, it came back to bite them in Game 1 on Sunday night. Refs swallowed their whistles on calls. In what should’ve been an exciting 104-100 Warriors win in Game one, it was tainted by four technical fouls, an ejection and poor officiating.

Time after time, Houston star James Harden went up for a shot and came down without a foul. Despite being one of the league’s most talented players, Harden carried the Rockets to the playoffs on a raft of fouls he baited opponents into. So with 10 seconds left in the game and down by three, when Harden didn’t get a call as his legs hit Warriors defender Draymond Green, he was confused.

“Call the game how it’s supposed to be called and that’s it,” Harden said. “And I’ll live with the results. But especially we all know what happened a few years back with Kawhi [Leonard]. That can change the entire series.”

Even Jazz center Rudy Gobert questioned the officiating. He tweeted: “My guys were not allowed to contest shots like that last week…or maybe i’m crazy and it’s just camera angles.”


But after the game, Green shot back, “I’ve been fouled by James on a James 3-pointer before.”

“That’s just the nature of the game we play,” he added. “Refereeing is an inexact science. So it is what it is.”

The Rockets and the Warriors will play Game 2 on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. EST.

Here’s some of the best reactions from around the league after Game 1:

Chat With uSports On Facebook! Get latest news and interviews delivered directly to your Messenger!