I expect to get some Heat from both sides on this one, so here goes...
Notice the question mark? This game will forever be shrouded in controversy. Now before I start my rant about "Dirty" Derek, I must say, I was looking forward to a Warriors sweeping the Lakers for the first time since the 94-95 season. It looks like I'll have to wait a little longer. The Warriors had everything going for them going into Monday night's game. They came out on top the night before in Los Angeles beating the Lakers at home 115 to 111. It was a game where 3rd year sensation Montae Ellis scored 31 points. It almost seemed like the Lakers didn't have an answer for Stephen Jackson who also scored 31 points, including 6 from beyond the arc. The Warriors had a 26 point lead at one point of the game and almost blew it as the Lakers clawed back into it in the 4th quarter. With Kobe, Ellis, and Baron Davis carving up the court, it was almost like watching AND1 on ESPN2. But clutch shooting by Stephen Jackson sealed the game with seconds remaining. The Warriors had the momentum coming home to Oakland. The Lakers, coming off a close loss, must now fly into hostile territory and play the Warriors the next day. It's physically AND mentally exhausting.
On to Monday's game. It was a sloppy game. Kobe missed a lot of shots in that 1st quarter. The Warriors quietly built an 11 point lead by halftime. I must admit, the Warriors didn't look very sharp either. I was surprised they would be leading at this point. Maybe this is what allowed the Lakers to stay close. This would be the Warriors' downfall. The Lakers came out strong in the 2nd half. Although they did not lead by a significant margin, they were clearly in control. As the clock wound down, Baron draws the foul and sinks 2 free throws, tying the game and sending it into overtime. Overtime wasn't any better than the 1st quarter. Clearly, everyone was tired. With about 4 seconds remaining, the Warriors had another chance to tie the score. They had the ball at half court and was about to pass in. Ellis looped around with Fisher on tight coverage. Their feet get tangled and Fisher clearly has his arm wrapped around Ellis pulling him down with him. The foul is called against Ellis. Fisher hits the free throws and basically the game is over. Obviously, this was a bad call. The refs screwed up. Even the expression on Kobe's face was like "I can't believe they called that, but I'll take it". Regardless, I stlll think think Derek Fisher is dirty. That was a dirty play and it went his way.
The Warriors had plenty of opportunities to seal the victory and they squandered them. None of the Warriors starters shot better than 48% (Harrington). This comes at somewhat of a surprise because Harrington seemed to be struggling the most. Ironically, the Warriors best player was Azubuike who shot 8-12 off the bench. The Lakers didn't fare much better (.451 vs Warriors .431 shooting %), but they made the shots that mattered. However, the bottom line is this. If the Warriors shot better, it wouldn't have come down to Fisher's "flop" and the reps bad call. 2 more free throws made or 1 extra 3 pointer would have made the difference for the Warriors. Now we just talk about the game that the refs ruined.