OAKLAND, Calif. – The reversal of a fundamental call in the final minute of the regulation launched a torrent of debate after the victory of Golden State Warriors Golden State Warriors 124-114 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  With Cleveland leading 104-102 and about 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Warriors forward Kevin Durant came into the basket against Jeff Green of the Cavaliers. While Durant, driving to the left, turned the corner on Green, he met LeBron James in the lane, where the two superstars collided.
"I read that play as well as I read any play in my career, maybe in my life," James said. "I [had] saw the play happening, I knew it was off the load line, and I knew I got hit."
Official Ken Mauer, team chief of the game, initially whistled Durant for a fee, with possession returning to Cleveland with 36.4 seconds left and a two-point lead. The referee's crew chose to review the play, an option provided by the NBA regulations, to examine whether James was completely outside the restricted area.
"The reason for the trigger is that we had doubts about whether James was in the restricted area," Mauer said after the game.
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The reps showed James The feet were some distance away from the restricted area, which caused the Cavaliers to question the need for revision of the replay.
"LeBron was clearly within 4 feet of the restricted area," said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. "Then it does not make sense to go check something if the review is if it's online or if it's close to the cargo circle, that's the review.
But Monty McCutchen, the NBA vice president and head of referee development and training, said that multiple factors in the work contributed to his degree of difficulty, and the presence of any apprehension by game officials can serve as a monitor.
"It's not about proximity [to the restricted area]" McCutchen told ESPN. "It's about doubts – in many cases, as an official, your head is spinning – for example, in that play, Jeff Green's foot is also on the line, what you see in front of you is obvious, is not it? Obvious from [where the lead official is positioned] When you have a three-body collision in the restricted area, sometimes if you catch that move late, sometimes there are doubts. "
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While the officers were huddled around the replay monitor at the scorers table, the Cavaliers were eagerly planning their next action.
"They told us they were checking if I had my feet off the line," James said. "And when I knew that, I thought, OK, that's going to be our ball." I knew he was off the charging line, so that was the communication for us. a play, you know, to try to run, try to get a couple of possessions. "
Since the 2012-13 season, when officers review a restricted area block / load call in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or the overtime period, they can also confirm the accuracy of the initial call. After reviewing Thursday night, the team determined that James was not in a position of full legal protection.
"It was determined that he was out of the restricted area, but he was not in legal guard position before the separate shooting of Durant," Mauer said. "So we had to change it to a lack of blocking."
Durant proceeded to the free throw line and drained two free throws, tying the game at 104-104. The game was finally overtime, when the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 17-7 for the win.
After the game, Lue was particularly discouraged in the name of James, who scored 51 points in the loss.
"To do what he did tonight and get robbed, it just is not right," said Lue.
While Lue expressed his frustration to the media, McCutchen was inside the dressing room of the officials with the officiating team, watching the play-frame and discuss the adjudication of one of the most consistent final calls of the NBA in recent memory.
"What you can not have is a referee who goes crazy when all that is taking place, and we found out later that there was a rule to help us correct the play, but we ended up losing because we were not applying the rule" said McCutchen.