Mike D'Antoni, Steve Kerr sound off on officiating | News Coverage from USA

Mike D’Antoni, Steve Kerr sound off on officiating

OAKLAND – Refereeing controversy and foul calls continued to be the hottest of all topics in the final hours before Tuesday night’s Game 2 between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

After a frenetic and highly disputed finish to the series opener in the Western Conference semifinal clash, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his Houston counterpart Mike D’Antoni both sounded off again about the critical impact of contentious decisions.

“Well it shouldn’t,” snapped D’Antoni, when asked whether the officiating would detract from a mouthwatering series between arguably the two best teams in the league. “And it shouldn’t continue. There is always going to be controversy and that’s the way it is, but it’s not a determining factor and … we’ll deal with it.”

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The role of the referees attracted even greater attention when it was revealed on Tuesday morning that Scott Foster, a veteran official whom the Rockets – especially James Harden – have heavily criticized, would be part of the team taking charge at Oracle Arena.

As Golden State prepared to try to add to its 1-0 advantage, Kerr admitted his players would be primed to adapt to any shift in refereeing patterns from the outset of the game. One of the most-observed factors was thought likely to be in relation to a jump-shooter’s “landing zone” and whether defenders were encroaching on the area.

“What I’m looking forward to is early in the game,” Kerr said. “We have to be poised right away. We’ve got to be solid and play through the whistle and whatever is called is called and just get back to playing basketball. I think this stuff has been annoying more than anything.”

D’Antoni was adamant his team would not be affected, even though they reacted furiously to certain decisions in Game 1.

“The players – it is a way to vent after the game,” D’Antoni added. “It’s a way to get upset, but it doesn’t carry over.”

These teams played out a thrilling Western Conference Finals series last year, with the Warriors prevailing in seven games, leading to great anticipation this time around after the conference seedings paired them together one round earlier.

“We just want to play and compete,” Kerr added. “It’s two great teams and that’s where the focus should be.”

Follow Martin Rogers on Twitter @RogersJourno



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