NBA: League notes officiating errors in Cavs' narrow win over Warriors

The Cleveland Cavaliers received a couple of Christmas gifts from game officials in itsthrilling 109-108 holiday triumph over the Golden State Warriors, the NBA said on Monday.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James watches from the bench with head coach Tyronn Lue.   -  AP

The Cleveland Cavaliers received a couple of Christmas gifts from game officials in itsthrilling 109-108 holiday triumph over the Golden State Warriors, the NBA said on Monday.

In its latest "Last Two Minutes Report" detailing officiating errors late in games, the league said Cleveland's Richard Jefferson should have been called for a foul with 3.1 seconds remaining after his foot made contact with that of Kevin Durant, affecting the Golden State star's speed, quickness, balance and rhythm.

Durant ended up sprawled on the court, unable to connect on a potential game-winner. "I fell," Durant said Sunday, "and I didn't fall on my own."

Jefferson, however, said the officials made the right call. "We all think we're fouled on every play in every single game," Jefferson said.

The NBA Finals rematch between the league powerhouses was the most-streamed NBA Christmas Day game ever, generating 359,000 unique viewers, according to Nielsen Company figures released on Monday by ABC sister network ESPN.

The game averaged a hefty 10.163 million viewers via the ABC broadcast and streaming combined.

The NBA champion Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter, courtesy of such Cleveland crowd-pleasing plays as LeBron James's monster dunk with 1:43 remaining which put the Cavs up 105-103 — its first lead since the first quarter.

"King" James hung on the rim and flexed his arms — a move that the league acknowledged on Monday in the officiating report should have seen him handed a technical foul for "deliberately hanging on the rim" after the dunk was completed.

Pistons down Cavs as James sits

The after-the-fact report is issued by the league in a bid for transparency in officiating — but has no bearing on the result of the game.

The Cavs were back in action on Monday, but with James sitting out they fell 106-90 to the Pistons in Detroit.

The Pistons snapped a five-game losing streak and ended the Eastern Conference-leading Cavs' five-game winning streak.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points, Marcus Morris added 15 and Joe Leuer and Reggie Jackson contributed 13 apiece for the Pistons, who never trailed.

Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 18 points and eight assists. Kevin Love chipped in 17 points and 14 rebounds for the visitors, who trimmed the deficit to as little as one point early in the third quarter but never got in front.

While Lue's decision to rest his stars from time to time has drawn criticism from fans who bought tickets hoping to see them, he said he was thinking about the long term.

He noted that Irving had two games off this month and Love missed three, hence his decision to rest James, who played 40 minutes in the win over Golden State on Sunday.

"Playing five games in seven nights, including tonight, played a big factor in my decision to hold LeBron out tonight," he said.

Lue noted that James, who watched from the sideline in street clothes, at least made the trip to Detroit with the team.

"We wanted to make sure he's here and make sure everybody can see him," Lue said.

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos