AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue shrugged it off when informed that the NBA ruled, after reviewing the final play of the Christmas Day showdown against the Golden State Warriors, that Richard Jefferson fouled Kevin Durant.
“To me, you come back and say that you made a mistake in the last two minutes of the game, I mean, that’s on them,” Lue said Monday.
The Last Two Minute report, which has been a polarizing topic since its inception, showed two incorrect non-calls in the final two minutes of Cleveland’s 109-108 win — both favoring the Cavs.
One was LeBron James not receiving a technical foul for hanging on the rim too long following a monstrous dunk that gave the Cavs their first lead since the first quarter. The other was Jefferson, who should’ve been whistled for a foul because of foot-to-foot contact with Durant that caused the Warriors star to stumble and toss up one last desperation shot.
Had Jefferson been whistled, Durant, a career 88.2 percent shooter from the stripe, would have gotten two free throw attempts and a pair of makes would have given the Warriors a one-point lead with a few seconds remaining.
“There’s a lot of fouls throughout the course of the game that don’t get called,” Lue said. “It’s a tough game to officiate. The players we have, the way guys can draw fouls and contact, so that was an incidental play at the end of the game. You don’t want the game decided on two free throws at the end of the game. I didn’t see (the foul). There wasn’t much contact to me.”
“I fell and I didn’t fall on my own,” he said Sunday.
The league reviews all calls and non-calls in the last two minutes of games within five points or less at the two-minute mark, a practice NBA Commissioner Adam Silver believes is beneficial. James — and other players — have been outspoken about it in the past.
“It changes absolutely nothing,” James said during last year’s postseason. “I think it sends a bad message to our fans of thinking the game is only won in the last two minutes. A play in the first quarter is just as important as a play in the last four seconds. That’s how playoff basketball is played, that’s how the game of basketball should be played.”
Richard Jefferson should have been called for a foul on Cavs-Warriors final play