Why Ref Assignment Could Favor Warriors in NBA Finals Game 4 Vs. Raptors

Let's get the obvious out of the way: The officiating was a complete disaster in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. 

The refs made countless terrible calls on both ends of the floor during the Toronto Raptors' 123-109 win over the Warriors at Oracle Arena. While it didn't play a role in the undermanned Dubs falling into a two-games-to-one series hole, it still was a bad look for the NBA to have the officials make so many errors during the championship round.

There will once again be a new officiating crew for Friday night's Game 4 at Oracle Arena. While we don't put a ton of stock in ref stats, the officiating crew of Mike Callahan, Zach Zarba and Eric Lewis might be good news for the Warriors, especially the fact that Callahan is on the call.

Of course, the better news for the Warriors is that Klay Thompson, who missed Game 3 with a hamstring strain, will play in Game 4. However, Kevin Durant, who has missed the Warriors' eight playoff games with a strained calf, once again will be unavailable. 

The ref numbers, while good for water-cooler talk, don't mean a whole lot. Heading into Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Raptors were 15-1 in their last 16 games officiated by Tony Brothers. They lost Game 2 with Brothers on the call.

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If the Warriors want to have any hope of completing their quest for a three-peat, they'll need Thompson and Steph Curry to play their best in Game 4. 

The Warriors' defense also will need to improve in order to draw even in the series. The Raptors' offense has been able to get a number of wide-open looks throughout the series, especially from the 3-point line. Golden State must buckle down defensively in order to head back to Toronto tied at two. Thompson's return should help the Dubs on that end as well.

A favorable whistle, of course, wouldn't hurt either.

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