Monday, April 18th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  52 responses

Nuggets Blame Refs for Game 1 Loss to Thunder

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Denver and OKC capped off an incredible start to this year’s NBA Playoffs last night, a weekend that saw nothing but exciting, wire-to-wire games.

Naturally, the refs had to screw up what was arguably the most entertaining tilt of the entire bunch.

With just over a minute remaining, Kendrick Perkins (with his hand touching both the net and rim) clearly made a basket interference violation by tipping in Russell Westbrook’s missed jumper. The illegal basket seemed to deflate the Nuggets, and OKC held on for a tough Game 1 victory behind Kevin Durant’s 41 points.

George Karl and his players were understandably upset following the game, and seemed to blame much of the loss on the missed call by the referees.

From Yahoo! come the angry quotes:

[George] Karl didn’t wait long to review the video evidence after the game. Nuggets officials then sent a text message to Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, complaining about the non-call. “Three-fourths of the ball is still in the cylinder when Perkins touches it,” Karl said. “Three-fourths of the ball, not half of the ball. What can I say? It’s tough. When you fight hard, it’s hard because guys give you everything you possibly can give there.”

A goaltending violation would have given the Nuggets the ball with a one-point lead and the final minute approaching. Karl believes the Nuggets were so upset by the non-call that their play was affected the rest of the game. Following a timeout, Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin walked to the scorer’s table and complained. Fifteen seconds later, he lofted an errant 21-foot jump shot. “It was goaltending, man, all the way around,” Martin said. “Everybody in the building and everybody on TV saw it.” Said Karl: “I was in shock. Because of it, I don’t think we executed very well in the last minute of the game. It kind of froze us.”

This has the makings of a long, wild and testy series, with both teams lobbing verbal grenades at one another seemingly every day.

Here’s to hoping this is the last time the refs’ unfortunate role in the proceedings is mentioned.

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  • Rasheedionics

    At the end of the day, there will be some blown calls. That’s just a nature of the game. Some go your way, some will go against you. It happens every year, every series, every round. You may not like it, but when do players and coaches learn that blown calls are just part of the game and you have to play through them. I think it’s a disgrace that George Karl would blame Nuggets poor execution in the last minute on the fact that players were upset about the bad call. You are professionals. This is not high school basketball. Did you also cry in the locker room after the game?

  • JTaylor21

    I still don’t understand how the refs could miss such a easy, viewable call yet they are always making the hard to see calls. That’s a shame because last night was a great game.

  • http://www.twitter.com/retepadam RetepAdam

    It’s tough to play through a call like that, knowing that there are two points on the board that should have been disallowed, knowing that an outside factor is making it tougher for you to win the game than it should be.

    They still should have executed, but I can understand how they’re frustrated after the fact, especially since they were all calling for goaltending when the play initially happened.

  • Eddie

    NBA don’t want Denver to win. The stars don’t align. ILLUMINATI.

  • GreenBall

    Whatever, OKC would have won anyways..

  • http://slamonline Allenp

    Um, maybe their horrible free throw shooting had something to do with it as well. Or, the fact that they couldnt’ stop Durant at all…
    Bad calls happen. If your team crumbles because of a bad call, they are mentally fragile. You have to be able to suck that up and keep playing. One call doesn’t cost you the game.

  • anon

    I’m surprised the replay rules didn’t apply to something like this

  • T-Money

    Allen, usually I’d be with you. But not this time. This was a clear goaltend even on live TV and it did change the game completely. DEN made mistakes, OKC made mistakes – it was a hard fought game. And you’re not stopping Durant when he’s feeling that one dribble fade away pull up from basically anywhere on the court, he doesn’t even have to create separation.

  • http://slamonline Allenp

    So, do you think Boston or L.A. crumble because of one poor call against them?
    I’m not saying it wasn’t crucial, I’m saying that you have to have a leader who rallies the troops, tells them to leave that behind them and concentrate on winning the game. It was a one possession game, it was still winnable.
    But, I will admit that I’m rarely inclined to give Karl the benefit of the doubt.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    JR Smith is hilarious. Loses the ball on a penetration attempt against Westbrook, then throws a damn hissy fit, gesturing at the ref.
    Of course he didn’t run back on D, luckily Nuggs stole the ball in transition, passed it to him and he stumbles into an And1!
    Ah, that quirky guy.

  • http://dillanleuyahoo.com Holy Baller

    I agree with Rasheedionics 100%. And really, if you watched that game there were blown calls all over the place, against both teams. I’m a huge Thunder fan and I was pissed until I realized that the Nuggets were getting screwed over as well. I really think it was pretty even. Very hard fought game, but the Thunder just had the home court advantage and the late surge of energy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    Yeah it was a blown call, but there was plenty of time left to get a good shot. The bad call didn’t make Felton waste the shotclock dribbling around or KMart shoot that ill advised jumper. Its the same way Knicks fans want to blame their loos on the refs. How about your team keep control of the game? It’s one thing to complain that the refs screwed you on a GAME-ENDING call that you have no way of coming back from. But if theres time left on the clock for you to respond, don’t blame the refs.

  • Anthony

    it was a bad call but i think chandler needs more mins…. he can score a lil an is their best defensive player… gall takes crazy shots and cant defend ibaka… play chandler more and u got an win

  • RC

    OMG. Wilson Chandler is NOT Kevin Durant. He cant be and he wont be. he cannot stop durant. 41 points..how many did chandler score again in the games against the thunder compared to KD. is chandler an all star and leading scorer? excuses, excuses, excuses. that is all these entitled nuggets and their idiot coach have. and @ ANTHONY, let me school you on Player positions, Gallo and Chandler are 3′s (small forwards), Ibaka is a 4, power forward,… why would gallo or chandler focus on guarding a 4? dont play the blame game using poor arguments. There was time on the clock to respond after that call. period. it wasnt a game winning faulty call. the officiating was poor for both teams. if you want to win, you cant be a BABY and loose your cool. the thunder dont. maybe that is one of the reasons they have more success than the nuggets. other than the fact scott brooks focuses on the team instead of being petty and putting other teams on blast. and home court @holy baller….a home court advantage did not give the thunder a win. they have won on denver’s court too post-trade. and dont use the excuse of denver not being healthy. Birdman and Afflalo are not difference makers. do they matter? sure. but not too much. The thunder have been the better team all year. they worked their way to the top of the game. they had less veteran players when they started from scratch three years ago than the nuggets do now. the nuggets to me are just petty, entitled, and dont take responsibility for their own teams play. may the better team win.


    I almost felt bad for George Karl. jk lol

  • Kenneth W. VanVorst

    Nuggets lost that game. They will win the series if they play that hard. There is no way two stars can carry a whole team in a seven game series. Denver is too deep and plays too hard. OKC will run out of steam.

  • Feez22

    I usually brush off the ref stuff but this time it is completely warranted. 1 transaction in the 4th q: Felton (or lawson lol i cant remember) goes to the hole, gets MAULED, no call. Westbrook dribbles down the court and gets a damn reach in call from k-mart. We know about the goaltending… However, did you guys not see the gallo play? gallo was dribbling baseline, was PUSHED and then dribbled off his foot. These refs called that ish out of bounds on gallo. It was clearly a foul. clearly. All of this happened with 5 mins to go. Not to mention felton getting a BOGUS charge call when collison was sliding. It was the worst officiated game of the playoffs so far. Especially in crunch time. To the ppl that say “you should not have let durant score 41 nor westbrook score 30+” i combat that with saying they were UP late in the game. It took a bogus call for the thunder to get the advantage. Sorry but i have a big problem with that. Hopefully this reffing team splits up for game 2 because this game was just… horribly officiated.

  • Anonymosdef

    Did anyone (slam and espn analysts included) actually SEE the play? It was freakin Ibaka that goaltended NOT Perk! Ironic that everyone sees it was clearly goaltending but can’t even ID the player properly lol

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    Yo Anonymosdef
    It was Perk… and you’re a complete idiot for calling everyone out and not actually watching the video yourself.

  • Anonymosdef

    Poor French guy smh. How bout you click on that lil link up there and apologize. I didn’t know Perk was number 9. Besides I’m an actual OKC resident and I watched the game. Dismiss yourself.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    First off, I’m not French. Secondly, what the heck does being an OKC resident have to do with anything? Thirdly watch this link. Skip ahead to the 2:53, watch Ibaka stand there as Perk tips the ball in.


  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    @anonymosdef, as dope as your name is, you a fool for this one.
    it was perk. watch it again, but this time with your eyes open.

  • paul

    Um, it was Perk.

    Clutch play by Perkins, even if he did goaltend. Smart move. Worst that happens, the basket is disallowed. Best that happens – we saw that.

  • Anonymosdef

    Seriously I’m open to admitting when I’m wrong but my eyes (it even says Ibaka on the description of the video!) And ears (Fratello) are telling me Ibaka. Its cool I’m apparently nuts. Carry on guys nevermind me.

  • rashado

    yeah dfrance21 what the hell, even the commentators say “that was ibaka” in addition to the fact that perkins was nowhere to be seen.

  • hambone

    a blown call in the 1st is just as big as a blown call in the 4th

  • bashmo

    Whoever thinks this was not a big deal, it was actually a huge one, they wouldve been up one and got the ball wit less than 50 secs on the clock, they probably would’ve won! NBA officiating is retarded, that was clearly basketb interference, and dont they have to review eeverything under 2 minutes? WTF, Denver got SCAMMED

  • bashmo

    HUGE mistake, arent they supposed to review everything less than 2 minutes left? DENVER GOT SCAMMED, WORST OFFICIATED 4th quarter since game 7 NBA Finals 2010

  • Anonymosdef

    Good call. I saw your link. Guess I was doing something else when it happened in real time and just saw the angle provided in the link above on the replay. Guess I’ll dismiss myself lol.

  • Anonymosdef

    It’s ok rashado. We lose lol.

  • rashado

    you’re right, i watched it again and saw perkins behind ibaka. my bad dfrance21

  • Trough

    In response to Allen
    So, do you think Boston or L.A. crumble because of one poor call against them?

    Boston and especially L.A. are the ones who get all the right calls and non-calls in their favor. So to answer your question I don’t think that they ever have to deal with adversity like that. Guaranteed if the Lakers were in the same position as the Nuggets last night Phil Jackson and Kobe the rapist would have gotten that bucket reversed.

  • Alphaherculis

    NBA just issued a statement: “Perkins was improperly credited with a basket that should have been ruled offensive basket interference with 1:05 remaining”.

    Uh…..okay……now what?

  • Ryan

    Sure, the Nuggets should have shot better from the FT line and they would have won easy. The issue is that this is a critical call at the most critical part of the season in a game with one minute left. Give me a break. Bad calls don’t really get any worse than that. For anyone to say it didn’t alter the game is ridiculous. You can say a lot of things could have happened. The Nuggets could have been better at the FT line. The Thunder could have made 100% of their 3 pointers. The game could have been a blowout. Who knows? What we do know is that there was an obvious critical blown call that did affect the game. That’s one thing that is an actual fact and not an assumption about what might have been. The refs blew this one. We’ll never know who would’ve won. We’ll only know that this win should have an ‘*’ next to it.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Allenp: The officiating was terrible and it DID cost the Nuggets the game. It’s not about the Nuggets losing their composure after the calls–they played as well as they could despite them. It’s that the game was SO DAMN CLOSE that the calls in favor of OKC really killed the Nuggets last night. Ibaka’s tip-in was a BLATANT goaltend–there is absolutely NO WAY all three refs could have missed it. They clearly let it slide on purpose. Three refs and they all miss it? I’m calling BS on that one.
    Not only that, but the tech on Felton for basically shrugging his shoulders was complete bullsh!t as well.
    In total the refs cost the Nuggets 3 points. From when those calls were made (in the forth quarter, during crunch time), those 3 points won OKC the game.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Also, I have to agree with Trough. Co-sign for sure. Although, when it’s Celtics vs. Lakers the refs usually favor the Lakers–at least when it’s at Stapes’ Center.

  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    LOL I wrote at like 9 this morning that it was Ibaka but the comment didn’t post.
    Guess Anonymosdef took the heat I woulda taken had it posted.

  • Anonymosdef

    Ha! The basketball/slam commenting gods spared you my friend

  • Ansonpanson

    @Trough: I agree, but the rapist thing is a wee bit too far.

  • http://slamonline Allenp

    Felton didn’t deserve that tech, but he did more than shrug.
    I’ve seen bad calls against both of those teams, and they didn’t fold up or use that as an excuse. I’m a firm believer in the idea that leaders have to set examples of how to handle adversity.



    I have sat in the Ford center during a playoff game and I can say that it is the craziest, loudest thing that I have been a part of. That is coming from an OU Sooners fan and a Combat Veteran. All of us Thunder fans saw the goaltending by Perkins. I think the issue lies with Denver and not having a legitamate scoring threat.

    You can say the Nuggets are deep all you want, but the Thunder are young and I see the depth on the their bench.

    The cream will rise to the top. There are no flukes in a 7 game series that determine the final outcome. When the Thunder wins in 6 or 7 games what are you gonna say then. It was the refs for 7 games? Sounds like Denver fans are really reaching for an excuse.

    Rise Together OKC.

  • http://dillanleuyahoo.com Holy Baller

    Anyone saying that the Nuggets lost the game because of a single call doesn’t know the game of basketball. I watched the game. There were plays on both sides where someone would drive to the hole and get absolutely mauled, and no foul was called. The refs were absolutely horrible and missed the basket interference call, I agree. But there’s no way that the refs favored one team or another.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    They have a legitimate gripe, but blaming the refs is never a good look.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    No calls were as bad as the calls in the Knick game.

  • Fred

    I can’t believe people call it a “ordinary bad call”, it’s so obvious that it’s worst than a bad call, there’s no word for it. A blind man would had seen that basket interference. I think this is a case of ref dismissal.

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    No calls were as bad as the calls in the Knick game. My bad for stealing What’s name.

  • Jamaal87

    Damn Zombie Sonics…..

  • krizzle

    and the paul pierce flop!!! as a referee you know who the floppers are and PP is an obvious one. you need to make sure it is blatant if youre giving PP the benefit of the doubt. it would be different if carmello bullied over PP and there wasnt a foul called because the refs know PP flops a lot. he should get what he deserves and not be rewarded when he flops

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    This game was a flat-out disgrace. Does Stern want to set Durant up as the next Jordan or what? I absolutely loathe blaming officials and I think pros should be able to get over calls, but this wasn’t 1 bad call. It was about 3-4 in the last 5 minutes when the Nuggets were up. This isn’t a mid-season game in Milwaukee, calls like that can ruin their season in a heartbeat. The Nuggets are everything that rights about basketball, hustle, talent and team-work. They are changing stereotypes about how the league should be dominated by stars and big cities. If a referee who’s been nudged that way by Stern or is simply blind, I might have to give up on this league.

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    cosign ryan @ 4:14. what if’s are whatever, but facts are facts. the refs blew that call

  • http://www.slamonline.com Mars

    Refs are getting paid to f’up the game. Some are gettin PAID to f’up the game.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    @Holy Baller Just because the refs were horrible the whole game doesn’t mean that that one call at that critical juncture of the game didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Thats just bad logic. The fact is the Nuggets were up 1 before that call and down 1 after it.