Golden State Warriors players were forced to take a break from their pregame shootaround before Game 3 of the NBA Finals to wait for an on-court adjustment from the Boston Celtics stadium staff.
Some angry Warriors fans don’t think the mishap was a coincidence.
As Warriors players were preparing for Wednesday’s game, they noticed that the hoop seemed to be just a bit too high. ESPN’s Kendra Andrews reported that staff checked it out and found that the hoop was set two inches too high, leading to a delay that forced Warriors players to take a pause while the issue was corrected.
While the mistake had no effect on the game itself, some Warriors fans took to Twitter to express anger at the disruption and speculate whether it may have been done on purpose.
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Warriors Fans Sound Off
After video reached social media showing the adjustments being made to the hoop during warmups, a vocal subset of Warriors fans accused the Celtics of purposely raising the hoop to throw off the rhythm of Warriors’ shooters and disrupt their pregame shooting routines.
“Celtics already needing an advantage over the Warriors. They are scared,” one fan tweeted.
Some fans noted that the Celtics have gained a reputation for doing anything necessary to squeeze out an extra advantage at home.
“Celtics tradition to cheat on their home floor. Former players brag about what they would do at the Boston Garden to gain an advantage,” a fan tweeted.
Some of the strange issues have been documented. During a 2017 playoff series, Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade complained that there was no hot water in the visiting locker room.
The rumors of Boston Garden shenanigans date back to legendary coach Red Auerbach, who was reported to have led efforts to make opponents uncomfortable in Boston. But Auerbach himself denied it, telling Bill Simmons in 2002 that the stories were all invented and noted that the Celtics had to endure the same conditions.
“This is the truth — I had absolutely no control of that Garden over anything,” Auerbach said. “They treated us like s***. If they had cold water, don’t you think we had cold water? The Lakers used to complain how hot it was at the Garden, that it wasn’t air-conditioned. I said to them, ‘Hey, I don’t blame you for complaining, because the half-a-court we play on is air-conditioned.’ I mean, how f***ing stupid can you be? It was the same for us.”
Incident Didn’t Seem to Bother Warriors
The Warriors players and coaches didn’t seem as bothered by the incident before Game 3. After the Celtics cruised to a 116-100 victory, Draymond Green said he and his teammates didn’t put enough pressure on their opponents.
“When you allow a team to get comfortable, especially in their home — in front the home crowd, then it’s tough,” Green said, via ESPN.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr even downplayed the pregame hoop controversy, joking that his team still had plenty of time to prepare even after the issue was corrected.
“It’s a good thing the game starts at midnight,” Kerr said, referring to the game’s 9 p.m. ET start time.