- Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The NBA Finals is tied and heading back to Oakland, California, for Game 7 after Cleveland won Game 6 at home in dominating fashion, 115-101.
The big story coming out of the game is how Stephen Curry lost his cool down the stretch, fouling out and then getting ejected when he threw his mouthpiece, which hit a fan.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr afterward was asked about Curry’s loss of composure. Kerr ripped into the officiating for calling touch fouls in the NBA Finals on the league MVP. In particular he mentioned fouls Curry was called for on the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, mentioning official Jason Phillips by name.
“He had every right to be upset,” Kerr said. “He’s the MVP of the league. He gets six fouls called on him. Three of them were absolutely ridiculous. He steals the ball from Kyrie clean at one point. LeBron flops on the last one. Jason Phillips falls for that, for a flop. This is the MVP of the league we’re talking about. These touch fouls in the NBA Finals.
“Let me be clear. We did not lose because of the officiating. They totally outplayed us. Cleveland deserved to win. But those three, three of the six fouls, were incredibly inappropriate calls for anybody, much less the MVP of the league.”
Kerr was then asked whether he was OK with Curry throwing his mouthpiece. Kerr didn’t hesitate to condone the move.
“Yeah, I’m happy he threw his mouthpiece,” Kerr said. “He should be upset. Look, it’s the Finals. Everybody is competing out there. There are fouls on every play. It’s a physical game … if they’re going to let Cleveland grab and hold these guys constantly on their cuts and then you’re going to call these ticky-tack fouls on the MVP of the league to foul him out, I don’t agree with that.”
It is unclear whether Kerr knew at the time of these comments that the mouthpiece hit a fan.
Here is the play where Curry threw his mouthpiece.
Kerr is most likely willing to take any fine the NBA will hand down for his criticism of the officiating. But at the same time, he probably feels the need to send a message to the league office to explain Curry’s actions and to let it know they weren’t unprovoked.
Still, a player can’t be losing his cool and hitting fans with thrown objects. If this weren’t the league MVP leading into Game 7, it is probably an automatic suspension. But considering what is at stake, it will be interesting to see how this is handled.
Here are Kerr’s comments.