OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Generally when the term ‘landing zone’ is debated there is a panel of NASA scientists at the microphone not NBA players, coaches and referees.
But just one game into the Golden State Warriors-Houston Rockets NBA playoffs series that’s is where we are at. Did Golden State’s Draymond Green violate Rockets star James Harden’s ‘landing zone’ on a desperation three in the final seconds of the Warrior 104-100 win Sunday?READ MORE: Rain Showers Trigger Power Outages Across The Bay Area
No foul was called, allowing the Warriors to escape with a win.
In the final two-minute report issued by the NBA Monday, the league ruled that Green did not foul Harden.
“Harden (HOU) draws Green (GSW) into the air during his shot attempt,” the report said. “Green jumps in front of Harden and would have missed him if Harden hadn’t extended his legs.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after viewing a replay of the game Monday, there may have been 10 calls Golden State didn’t get.
“It’s disappointing,’ Kerr said of all the complaints about officiating being made by the Rockets. “The focus should be on two teams that played extremely hard.”
“If you watch the tape, both teams just got after it and competed,” Kerr continued. “We just watched the tape upstairs, you don’t think there were 10 calls that we thought we got fouled. This is how it goes. Every coach in the league will tell you, you watch the tape and you go — ‘That’s a foul, that’s a foul’ — It’s the nature of the game. It very, very difficult to officiate an NBA game. There is all kinds of gray area.”
Watch Warriors Coach Steve Kerr’s Monday News Conference
Ironically, it was actually the Warriors who gave birth to the whole ‘landing zone’ debate in 2017 when then Golden State center Zaza Pachulia crowded then Spurs star Kawhi Leonard on a 3-point line that ended with Leonard spraining his ankle.READ MORE: Dozens of Dogs, Cats Removed From Danville Home
It’s commonly referred to as the ‘Zaza Pachulia’ rule and says that a defender must allow a three-point shooter a safe ‘landing zone.’
If anyone has taken advantage of the rule, it’s Harden — who alters his shot into almost a jack knifing position to draw fouls call and head to the free-throw line.
On Sunday, the Rockets complained that Harden actually had his ‘landing zone’ violated three other times during the game that went uncalled.
“We all know what happened a few years back with Kawhi,” Harden told reporters after the game. “That can change the entire series. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called, and we’ll live with the results. It’s plain and simple.”
But Green quickly shot back that if there was contact on the play, Harden was responsible for it because he kicked his feet forward in a odd shooting stance.
“I’ve been fouled by James on a James three-pointer before,” Green said after the game. “I ain’t going with that one…They reached a lot (on defense). If that’s the case, we could have shot 20 more free throws too. It is what it is. I think we can all sit here and complain about calls after every game. That’s just the nature of the game we play. Refereeing is an inexact science. It is what it is.”
When asked specially about the ‘landing zone,’ Green responded: “I’m going to contest his shot. Got to contest the shot. When you land three feet ahead of where you shoot the ball from, that really ain’t my issue.”
Even without the calls, Harden was able to shot 14 free throws in the contest. It sounded a bit odd in the post-game interviews when Kerr was relieved that it was only 14 shots.MORE NEWS: Oakland Church Group Hosts Party to Preach Anti-Violence by Practicing Community
“It’s going to be hard to keep him way down on free throw attempts,” Kerr said of Harden. “I think when we watch the tape we’ll see some plays where we reached. You have to be very discipline. He’s (Harden) so clever, creating fouls, creating contact. You have to be able to play without putting your hand in the cookie jar…He’s so good. He’s going to get fouled and get to the line no matter what you do.”