Warriors fume over ref calls after last-gasp loss to T-Wolves

MINNESOTA • The Golden State Warriors, who are usually on fire, found themselves having to blow off steam after a 131-130 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in which they felt they were let down by officiating calls.

Trying to inbound the ball with 0.5 seconds left after Stephen Curry's three-pointer had tied the National Basketball Association game, Karl-Anthony Towns was fouled by Kevin Durant on the play.

He went to the line and made one of two free throws with that half-second still remaining to give the Timberwolves (34-41) the victory in front of a sell-out crowd at Target Centre on Friday night.

The defeat left the two-time defending champions Warriors neck and neck atop the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets, who beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-105 to improve to 51-24.

Curry had 37 points for Golden State, who also got 23 from Durant and 20 from Klay Thompson.

However, coach Steve Kerr was left fuming over the officials' decisions and his team's own miscues.

Durant was called for holding Towns near the basket, even though the pass appeared out of reach of both players.

Seconds earlier, Golden State inbounded the ball to Durant who put up a three-pointer that dropped through the net as a foul was called.

But officials waived off the basket saying the foul had occurred before Durant got the shot off.

"Mind-boggling," said Kerr, who thought it should have been a four-point play. "You catch the ball, you go up for a shot, you get fouled - in any league that's a good bucket and a free throw."

But he conceded that their problems started earlier, as their 68-54 half-time lead evaporated in a sluggish, sloppy third quarter. The Warriors were outscored 32-18 in the period, making just five of 20 shots from the field and committing eight turnovers with zero assists.

"We went into half-time with 20 assists, three turnovers, broke the game open late in the second quarter, and rolling along," Kerr said.

"But third quarter was a disaster. We stopped playing. I give Minnesota a lot of credit. They competed, got back in the game. We stepped on our own toes in that quarter.

"I'm disappointed with the way we lost control of the game with the officiating at the end."

Minnesota forward Andrew Wiggins scored 24 points to lead eight Timberwolves players in double figures, while Josh Okogie added 21.

Curry also could not resist a dig at the late calls he felt "sabotaged" the Warriors' effort. "KD, four-point play which puts pressure on them with four seconds left to have to get a bucket," he said.

"And end of the game - nobody wants to see a game end like that with a crazy pass that had no chance of being caught and a soft foul that should never have been called."

DPA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 31, 2019, with the headline 'Warriors fume over ref calls after last-gasp loss to T-Wolves'. Print Edition | Subscribe