The recent matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets left some members of the Warriors frustrated and disheartened. The reason? The excessive number of free throws awarded to Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets’ center. Jokic ended the game with 18 successful free throws, a career high for him, and an NBA record for the most makes without a miss on Christmas Day. In this article, we will delve into the impact of fouling in the NBA and the concerns raised by the Warriors’ coach, Steve Kerr.
Steve Kerr expressed his concern over how fouling has been refereed leaguewide. He criticized the trend of “legislating the defense out of the game” and enabling players to manipulate their way to the free-throw line. Kerr’s frustration is understandable, given the Warriors’ perspective on Jokic’s exaggerated attempts to draw fouls. Kerr believes that such tactics undermine the essence of the game and make it less enjoyable for fans.
Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ star guard, sheds light on the advantage players have when they can effectively sell a call to the referees. Curry acknowledges that physicality is a part of the game but emphasizes the need for consistency in officiating. When inconsistencies arise, it disrupts the flow and fairness of the game. Curry’s observation highlights the importance of clear guidelines to maintain a level playing field.
Jamal Murray, the Nuggets’ guard, distinguishes between selling a call and flopping. While some may argue that selling calls is a form of deception, Murray believes it is a legitimate part of the game. Murray even suggests that Jokic deserves more calls due to his physicality and his reputation as the reigning Finals MVP. Murray’s viewpoint reflects the mindset of many players in the league who see selling calls as a strategic advantage.
Nikola Jokic’s ability to draw fouls has been instrumental for the Nuggets. Against the Warriors, his presence at the foul line changed the dynamics of the game. Jokic took full advantage of his free-throw opportunities and scored 26 points, even though his field goal shooting was not up to par. The Nuggets’ success in drawing fouls against an elite team like the Warriors highlights the significance of foul shooting in winning games.
Prior to the game against the Warriors, the Nuggets struggled with free throw shooting and foul shot attempts. Jokic explains that their lack of aggressiveness in driving to the paint contributed to their low free throw rate. However, by getting to the bonus early in the game, the Nuggets were able to shoot 32 free throws compared to the Warriors’ 23. This strategy allowed the Nuggets to control the tempo of the game and limit the Warriors’ offensive opportunities.
The Nuggets’ victory over the Warriors was not solely the result of Jokic’s foul shooting prowess. Their success also stemmed from their improved defense and offense. They held Stephen Curry to 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting and limited Klay Thompson to just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. Denver’s ability to shut down the Warriors’ star players contributed to their control of the game. Additionally, the Nuggets excelled in scoring fast-break points, a rarity for them in recent games. This turnaround highlights the correlation between defense, rebounding, and offensive opportunities.
The Warriors’ frustration with the excessive fouls awarded to Nikola Jokic in their game against the Nuggets has sparked a debate about the impact of fouling in the NBA. Coaches, players, and fans are divided in their opinions on the extent to which players should be allowed to manipulate calls and draw fouls. Finding a balance between physicality and fairness remains a challenge for the league. The Nuggets’ success in capitalizing on foul shots demonstrates the importance of this aspect of the game in determining outcomes. As the NBA moves forward, it will be crucial to address the concerns raised by teams like the Warriors and find ways to ensure consistent and fair officiating.