Will refs even things out in Game 3? Warriors have ‘got to be ready for that'


NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans have one wish of referees officiating their Western Conference semifinal series against the Warriors.

Please, the Pelicans subtly urge, may we have a few more free throws -- and the Warriors a few less?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, for one, believes that wish will be granted, pronto, as in Game 3 on Friday.

“We’re going to get some fouls called on us early, for sure,” Kerr said Thursday evening after practice at Smoothie King Center. “We’ve got to be ready for that. You’ve got to just play through anything like that, play with poise.”

Kevin Durant, by contrast, doesn’t expect much to change.

“If we were fouling them on drives to the rim, they would get foul shots,” he said. “But our fouls have been like open-court reaches.”

The Warriors built a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, winning two home games, mostly on the power of defensive intensity. They have gotten more whistles, too, and by a considerable margin.

In a 121-103 victory in Game 1, the Warriors had a 32-11 advantage in free throw attempts. In Game 2, a 121-116 win, they shot 27 while the New Orleans shot nine.

Durant, however, pointed out that the actual number of fouls called in Game 2 were practically equal, 18 against the Warriors and 19 against the Pelicans. The Warriors have been whistled 34 times in two games, the Pelicans 43 times.

“We’re still fouling as much as they are, but they’re probably not shooting fouls,” Durant said. “They’re going to try to be aggressive getting to the rim, trying to get free throws. But we’ve been doing a good job of making them shoot over us and trying to make tough shots over us.

“I don’t think just because (of the free disparity) that they’ll get calls because of that.”

As much as the Pelicans would like to see the numbers become closer upon their return home, they are being polite about seeking it.

“I’m not going there,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters earlier Thursday. “We're going to play, we are going to attack the basket and whatever happens, happens."

“Am I concerned they shot 59 free throws and we shot 20? Yes. So, whatever we need to do to make up that discrepancy, we have to do it."

That’s as far as Gentry will push the issue, particularly after being slapped with a $15,000 fine for publicly criticizing officials after a 107-101 loss to Houston on March 17.

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