NBA’s Game 4 referees include one with recent controversial Warriors call

Friday night’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals isn’t technically a must-win for the Warriors, but it’s pretty close.

As they know well, only one team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and that would be their deficit to the Celtics if they lose tonight.

So every marginal advantage for either team is critical to Golden State. One such margin is officiating.

The Game 4 officiating group includes veteran official James Capers as the crew chief with Kane Fitzgerald and Eric Lewis alongside him. Scott Foster, who headed up the Game 3 crew, will man the replay center.

Fitzgerald was the crew chief for Game 1 of the Warriors’ Western Conference semifinal series with the Memphis Grizzlies, when Draymond Green was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul on Brandon Clarke. Green hit Clarke across the face, then grabbed Clarke’s jersey while he was in the air, sending Clarke to the floor.

It was called a Flagrant 2 on the floor and confirmed by the NBA’s replay center.

But Fitzgerald has been the lead official in two Warriors wins since then: Game 6 against Memphis, when they closed out the series, and Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against Dallas.

Green has racked up four technical fouls in the playoffs, including one in Sunday’s Game 2 win over the Celtics, so he is three away from an automatic suspension with as many as four games remaining in the series.

The Warriors are 26-20 all-time in Fitzgerald-officiated regular-season games. They’re 49-51 with Capers officiating, going back to his first season in 1995-96, and 35-28 in games called by Lewis.

Contributed by local news sources

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