Saturday, April 13, 2013

Staples Center Screw Job


By Justin Taylor

This highly complex graphic was the most viral post in the history of Trapped in Golden State.

After another epic performance from Stephen Curry and one of the better games of young Klay Thompson’s career the Warriors lost another game to the #LOLakers in a fashion that isn’t even surprising anymore. The refs screwed them. There was a hell of a lot more to it than that but that will be the most memorable storyline from this game. Friday night’s game at Staples Center was yet another shining example of the NBA’s terrible track record of atrocious officiating but us Warriors fans may be the only ones who care to remember it as such.

The play where Kobe unfortunately ended his season with a torn Achilles tendon was the best example of the abominable officiating. That play highlighted how the plight of Warriors fans everywhere but will not be remembered for anything more than the shot that ended Kobe’s (and by extension the Lakers) season. I almost can’t wait for ESPN to combust after Kobe walks through that tunnel Willis Reed style in a week, scores four points and gets 100% of the credit for the Lakers making the playoffs even though everyone on the NBA payroll is working to make that happen right now.


I think the NBA saw this graphic I posted before the and realized something had to be done!

It’s no secret that the NBA does everything in its power to protect and elevate their superstars but it’s such a common practice most fans don’t even bitch about it anymore. The problem is that it doesn’t matter if Bay Area fans constantly feel like they’ve been robbed. The league has an exponentially larger market in Southern California that comes with an equally gigantic international following who sees nothing wrong with such atrocities. If 80% of the audience sees it as a great play then all the NBA has done is continue to build their brand.

I couldn't find a single video that mentioned anything but Kobe's toughness when referring to the plays in which he got "hurt" in this game. Other than the achilles injury there was an insane amount of acting going on. Please write in and tell me why a whistle was blown on ANY of these plays.

With all of that being said I’m only going to say that the refs only contributed to this loss and it wasn’t that big of a contribution. Many Warriors fans were pointing to the 50-16 free throw disparity as proof of how lopsided the officiating was before the game was even over. You had to be sitting in the worst of nose bleed seats not to see how ridiculous some of those calls were but that only accounts for about six of those Laker free throws. The biggest factor in that huge disparity is the same as it is almost every other Warriors game, they are a jump shooting team that gets no penetration and can’t force the defense’s hand unless the shots are falling from three. On most nights you genuinely want Dwight Howard to shoot almost half of those 50 freebies but you never expect him to make 14-22 of them.

This game really highlighted why the Warriors aren’t ready to be a serious threat in the playoffs, yet. Of course getting the sixth seed gives us a chance to advance to the second round where drawing San Antonio or OKC as a seventh seed pretty much eliminates all hope of that. The difference there is that we get to watch our team play a few extra games but outside of that it’s negligible. From the very start the 2012-13 Warriors were built more for 2014-15 than this season. I have faith that Bob Myers and Jerry West were discussing these deficiencies before the season even started. If you look at the salary structure of the team you can see where and when the next phase of their plan can and will take place.

The fact is that the Warriors had to have this game if they wanted to secure their position as the sixth seed in the West and they blew it. The officiating was as bad as we’ve seen in years but it wasn’t like it was the Lakers versus the 2002 Kings. There were plenty of things that could have been done to pull this thing out regardless of the assholes who refused to swallow their whistles on one side and choked on them on the other. The problems with the offensive/defensive schemes and a general lack of aggression from anyone not named Curry or Klay were worrying me as much as the officials all night long.

Am I the only one that found it pretty amazing that as Steph Curry was going ballistic in the first half the Warriors never had more than something like a six point lead? During that time Kobe was doing his Kobe thing where he’s shooting 6-15, doesn’t involve any of his teammates and plays zero defense. Despite all of this there was no evidence that there was going to be any kind of Golden State run to give themselves a second half cushion that might help during the inevitable fourth quarter collapse. If we’re handing out awards for who had the biggest hand in this devastating loss I’m going with the team defense, the poor offensive coaching schemes, the lack of aggression on either end AND THEN the worst officiated game in the NBA this year.

Absolutely nobody wanted to see Carl Landry take the potential game winning shot even if there was NOBODY within 15 feet of him. Curry made the right play, as a point guard, to give it to him but the problem with that play started before the ball was even inbounded. In my mind it should have been Jarrett Jack receiving the inbounds pass while Landry, Lee and Thompson were body checking every yellow jersey on the floor Slap Shot style until Curry had an open look which constitutes of about six inches of space.  At that point, with almost 10 seconds left on the clock, there is ample time that if the entire Fakers defense is chasing that one guy, you end up with an open look for Jack or Thompson instead of Landry six feet out of his range.

For me it ended up being an “I told you so” moment for my wife. She an only be classified as a casual fan when I take her to games and she still tells me all the time the whole thing is fixed. Every time she says that I have to concede her point is partially correct and then go into Warriors/NBA apologist mode. Last night I basically had to concede that she was 100% right and launch into a tirade to back up her point. It all boils down to three main points: 1) The NBA needs the Los Angeles market fully engaged in the playoffs and 2) The NBA needs (needed) Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard in their playoffs marketing push. The third point really just explains the first two…it’s called FOLLOW THE MONEY! 

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