All of the talk regarding the Golden State Warriors 104-100 Game 1 victory over the Houston Rockets was centered around the officiating. The refs drew a little ire from both sides, but mostly from the Rockets, who were livid that James Harden didn’t receive more free throws.
It’s been a theme all year. For the most part, refs - who have been prioritizing freedom of movement and landing space - have been very quick to blow the whistle. And to that end, Warriors center Andrew Bogut expects Tuesday’s Game 2 to have some whistle-happy refs after all the Game 1 complaints.
“I think it will be very, very tight, and I think there’s gonna be a lot of fouls called, and I think the game will go for about five hours probably,” Bogut said on an appearance on The Jim Rome Show. “So that’s kind of my prediction. A lot of pressure from you guys in the media, a lot of pressure from around the NBA, I see [Rockets general manager] Daryl Morey commenting, [Dallas Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban, a lot of people are commenting. And the league’s gonna see it, and I think both teams will probably be in the bonus in the first three or four minutes of the first quarter.”
Bogut, who joined the Warriors in March after playing the season in Australia’s NBL, said the league is officiated much differently than when he last played in the NBA.
“You can’t touch anybody,” Bogut noted. “Good defenders and defense has kind of gone out the window for scoring, which, you know, the NBA claims that the fans want to see more of. But a lot more of the scoring now is just a guy standing at the free throw line. So I’m not sure if that’s the right balance. . . It’s definitely changed, and you just have to adjust your game to it.”
Bogut has always been known for his defense, so naturally it’s a change that’s not ideal for him. But he stopped short of saying it’s objectively worse, and rather noted that it’s just different, and some fans will prefer it while others don’t.
“If you love scoring, and love seeing a stat sheet that’s in the 120s and 130s, it’s better,” Bogut reasoned. “If you’re a basketball purist, it’s arguable if it’s better. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say, and this is a prime example of it. For me, I kind of like the balance of pure basketball, but some people like seeing a stat sheet and seeing outrageous stats.”