It was the third team on the floor of the Warriors-Mavericks game that found the spotlight in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The officials were the focal point of many key moments in the first half of Friday night’s playoff contest, leading TNT’s Charles Barkley to offer a bold assessment.
“That was the worst half of officiating I’ve ever seen in the history of the NBA,” Barkley said at halftime. “The officials, they were awful.”
The crew of Kane Fitzgerald, Eric Lewis and Ben Taylor were scrutinized by both teams, the fans at Chase Center and even Warriors owner Joe Lacob in the first half. Warriors fans might remember Fitzgerald from assessing Draymond Green with a Flagrant 2 foul in Game 1 of the team’s conference semifinals series against Memphis.
Lacob-Fitzgerald Summit pic.twitter.com/B5KqYPP46j
— Mike Eagan (@mqeagan) May 21, 2022
The officials called an early technical foul in Game 2 on Green for arguing a call, then called double technicals on Damion Lee and Dallas’ Davis Bertans when they got tangled up in the corner in front of the Mavericks bench.
The crew also called a technical on Mavericks guard Dorian Finney-Smith after he argued with officials, who were only conversing after Green and Reggie Bullock went nose-to-nose during a heated discussion.
Several other Warriors argued calls to the point of nearly getting a technical themselves, with Steve Kerr asking one ref, “You call that? It’s the [expletive] playoffs” after a foul call.
It’s possible the frequency of whistles played a part in Dallas’ hot start to the game, as the Mavericks tend to play a slower pace and would rather not be running back-and-forth on the floor as the Warriors prefer. Dallas led 72-58 at halftime, thanks in large part to making 15-of-27 3-pointers in the half — four more 3-pointers than they made in all of Game 1.