What happened in two snapshots in the NBA Playoffs on Monday, April 29, 2019.
April 2019 Basketball Wiretap
League sources believe the Houston Rockets may be circumventing a NBA rule regarding complaints about competition-related matters by leaking a report about the officiating during the Western Conference Finals last season.
The NBA sent a memo to all postseason participants reminding teams that the process for raising “competition-related matters” that include officiating matters need to be shared with their opponent.
The Golden State Warriors were aware of Houston's complaints to the NBA last season, but had moved on. The Warriors "had forgotten about it" until the report was leaked to The Athletic on Sunday, according to a source.
The Rockets protested "landing area" calls on several occasions during Game 1.
Brett Brown complimented Jimmy Butler following the Philadelphia 76ers' 94-89 game 2 win over the Toronto Raptors to even the series.
Butler finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists.
"This was James Butler. That was the adult in the gym...He was just a tremendous sort of rock. He willed us to a lot of different situations...He was a stud. He really was an adult in the gym," said Brown.
"My name isn't James, it is literally Jimmy," said Butler, before highlighting defensive efforts from Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Kawhi Leonard, who finished with 35 points, complimented Simmons on his defense.
"They had Ben guarding me tonight. They did a good job, honestly; got to give them credit," said Leonard.
Pascal Siakim was held to 9-of-21 shooting on the night, often with Embiid guarding him.
"Obviously, it was difficult for us to handle just by looking at the numbers. I think Pascal had a low shooting percentage tonight, a lot of those were trying to take on Embiid at the rim," said Nick Nurse.
Giannis Antetokounmpo said that he needed to play with more effort in game 2 against the Boston Celtics.
"My older brother usually doesn't call me after games. But he was like, 'You got to play harder. You have to help your team and play hard.' [He] definitely told me that. Coach [Mike Budenholzer] told me that I've got to put more effort, I've got to be more aggressive," said Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo shot just 7-of-21 from the field in a 22-point performance in game 1.
He added that the Bucks aren't making any big changes to their strategy.
"Definitely not. We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing all year. I don't think we should change at all. Why should there be a change after a game that we lost? We should not be the team that made the adjustment," he added.
Mike Budenholzer said that the Bucks need to go back to basics in game 2.
"I think just some of our basic stuff defensively, offensively. I think just our activity, I think the competitiveness that we need just wasn't where it needs to be. We just got to play better. Give credit to Boston, obviously they impacted how we played. They played well. We got to impact them more. They played well; we didn't. We need the opposite in Game 2."
What happened in two snapshots in the NBA Playoffs on Sunday, April 28, 2019.
Chris Paul appeared to make contact with referee Josh Tiven as he was ejected from Game 1 with 4.4 seconds remaining in the game.
Paul was asked about the incident after the game.
"I ain't seen it yet," said Paul.
Sources with the Rockets believe any contact between Paul and Tiven was minimal and inadvertent, which would not lead to any discipline from the NBA league office.
Kevin Durant finished with 35 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets 104-100 in game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Steve Kerr compared Durant's recent playoff run to Michael Jordan.
"There's this guy named Michael something. Can't remember his last name. No, but Kevin's run this past week has just been off the charts. I've said it a few times this week: He's the most skilled basketball player on Earth. He's one of the most skilled basketball players to ever play the game. There's never been anybody like him. Six-[foot]-11, handles the ball, shoots 3s, passes, defends. He's just an unbelievable talent. And I think after we lost Game 2 to the Clippers, I think he just felt like he had to turn it up and lift us up another level. That's exactly what he's done," said Kerr.
Durant is averaging 40.2 points in his last 5 games.
Durant added that he's starting to put it all together on both ends of the court.
"Each stop along the journey has been -- I've just been tailor-made for the moment, I guess. I learned a lot so far as a player up until this point, so I think I'm starting to put everything together on both sides of the ball. I'm not looking at points or shots that I get up, just how focused I am for each possession."
James Harden and Mike D'Antoni said that the refs admitted to missing 4 foul calls in the Houston Rockets' 104-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors in game 1.
Harden and D'Antoni said that the Warriors didn't give Harden enough landing space after shooting a 3.
"I mean, I just want a fair chance, man. Call the game how it's supposed to be called, and that's it. And I'll live with the results," said Harden.
Harden finished with 35 points, but shot 4-of-16 from 3.
"I'm going to try to be a nice guy because I really don't want to give the charity to them. I'd rather have my charity have the money. So, I mean, the response was they came in halftime and said they missed them. That's what they told me. They missed four of them. That's 12 foul shots. So be it. They're trying to do the best they can do," said D'Antoni.
Chris Paul was also ejected with 4.4 seconds left in the game after getting called for his second technical foul.
The Boston Celtics credited Al Horford's defense in their 112-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 22 points on 7 of 21 shooting, including going 1 for 6 against Horford.
"I just think that our group, we all understood how we needed to defend and how dangerous he is once he gets it in the paint. So constantly tonight, we had a couple of breakdowns, but for the most part, I feel like everyone was very aware. Our guards really did a good job of helping and closing down lanes and things like that, and we just wanted to challenge and contest every shot as best we could," said Horford.
Antetokounmpo added that he needed to make the right passes with the Celtics packing the paint.
"They were loading [the paint] a lot. Lots of guys in the paint. Whenever I got in the paint, when I spin or try and change direction, the second guy was right there. I've just gotta go watch tape. If they are going to play like this the whole series, I have to be able to make the right pass, trust my teammates to knock down shots," said Antetokounmpo.
Klay Thompson remains a game-time decision for game 1 against the Houston Rockets after an MRI on his right ankle returned clean on Saturday night.
"If (Thompson's injury) is going to get worse, we should not play him today," said Steve Kerr.
Steph Curry, who also suffered a sprained ankle in game 6 against the Clippers, will play.
Austin Rivers will miss the game for the Rockets due to an illness.