NBA Admits Missed Call That May Have Cost Warriors a Sweep

Andrew Wiggins

Getty Andrew Wiggins attempts a putback dunk against the Denver Nuggets.

The Golden State Warriors finished off the Denver Nuggets in Wednesday’s Game 5 and will have at least a few days to rest before their next series — but could have had even more time had referees not made a critical mistake.

The NBA admitted in its Last Two Minute Report that a missed call in the final minute of Game 4 may have cost the Warriors a chance to sweep the series. The Nuggets went on to grind out a close victory, staving off elimination for one game and costing the Warriors the chance at getting a full week of rest before moving on to the next round.

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Referee Missed Key Call

In the report issued before the Warriors and Nuggets tipped off for Game 5, the league admitted that referees missed an out-of-bounds call that awarded Denver the ball with 40 seconds left and the score tied. As SI.com’s Farbod Esnaashari noted, the call came after Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins missed a putback dunk attempt. The ball went out of bounds and possession was awarded to the Nuggets, but the league said it should have remained with the Warriors and given them another chance to take the lead.

The Warriors closed out the series on April 27, winning 102-98 after erasing an 8-point fourth-quarter deficit. The game was dicey at times for the Warriors, and afterward Steph Curry admitted that the team was feeling the pressure to close out the series.

“You could tell we were pressing a little bit,” Curry said, via ESPN.

“For me, Draymond [Green], Klay [Thompson], [Kevon Looney], we’ve all been there before and know that feeling and love the competition and the environment. It’s also a reminder of like this — tonight was just a weird feeling because we had not been there in a while. Again, we wanted it so bad. Kind of made it a lot more difficult on ourselves.”


Time to Rest

While the Warriors may have preferred a full week — or more, if the Minnesota Timberwolves can force a Game 7 against the Memphis Grizzlies — to prepare for their next series, the team is in better shape than the past weeks. Curry has returned from a foot injury that wiped out the final month of the regular season, and on Wednesday was able to play for the first time without a minutes restriction.

After the Warriors closed out the series, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the time off may have been a benefit to Curry. He has been shooting 50 percent from the floor and 40.4 percent from behind the three-point arc in the playoffs, well above his season averages.

“I think we’ve seen this in the past,” Kerr said. “Last year when Steph got hurt in Houston with the tailbone when he fell back into the stands. I think he missed maybe eight or ten games, and then he came back and had possibly the greatest shooting month in the history of the NBA. If you look at the numbers, they were astonishing.”

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