LeBron James

NBA admits it blew crucial call in Kings' 103-102 loss vs. Celtics

NBA admits it blew crucial call in Kings' 103-102 loss vs. Celtics

It's getting tougher and tougher to blame Kings fans if they believe there's an NBA conspiracy against their favorite team.

No, this isn't about the 2002 Western Conference finals and the fix that most definitely was in.

Unfortunately for Sacramento, the officiating hasn't seemed to go their way in the current season, either. The Kings have lost two games by a single possession so far, and both outcomes might have been different if the officials hadn't blown a couple specific calls.

The day after the Kings lost 99-97 to the Lakers on Nov. 15, the NBA's Last Two-Minute report revealed that Los Angeles' LeBron James should have been called for an offensive foul for crashing into Harrison Barnes with 5.5 seconds remaining. Of course, in the game itself, the officials got it backward and called Barnes for a blocking foul. James made both of his resulting free throws, which proved to be the decisive points in the game.

Oh, but there's more.

In Sacramento's 103-102 loss to the Celtics on Monday, the Kings were on the wrong side of a wrong call once again.

Tuesday's Last Two-Minute Report stated that Boston's Marcus Smart should have been called for a traveling violation with 33 seconds remaining in the game. Instead, the refs missed it, and Smart banked in what would be the decisive basket.

Both instances came on the road for the Kings, so perhaps that explains the whistles, or lack thereof. Of course, the fact that the Lakers and Celtics -- the NBA's two darling franchises -- were the direct beneficiaries of the missed calls isn't going to quiet any conspiracy theories.

[RELATED: Buddy's career night not enough to save Kings from loss]

Ultimately, there's nothing the Kings can do. They've done a tremendous job to get back into the thick of the Western Conference after losing their first five games and now sit at 7-9 on the season. But if you ask them, that record should be reversed.

Why Warriors listed as NBA's second-most loyal fan base behind Lakers

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Why Warriors listed as NBA's second-most loyal fan base behind Lakers

If you guessed Warriors fans are the most loyal and engaged NBA fanbase ... you'd be wrong. 

A recent study found the Los Angeles Lakers hold the No. 1 spot when taking fan equity, road equity and social equity into account. But the Warriors were right behind them in the No. 2 slot.

Fan equity, as the study indicated, represents home revenue. Road equity was measured by the attendance drawn from visiting teams and the social equity was determined based on Twitter reaches. 

Michael Lewis, the director of Emory University's marketing analytics center, made some notes about the Warriors in his report that was published in mid-October.

"The Warriors are a great example of how powerful brands are created. Golden State was long a second-tier team. Now, after years of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant winning championships, the Warriors have become a premier brand with a national following of engaged fans. The lesson is that it is not enough to win once. Like the Bulls, brands are built through repeated championships."

His conclusion was a rather simple one: In order to move up in the rankings, one must win consistent championships. He also admitted social media could create a gray area. 

[RELATED: Why Curry should chuckle at Harden's complaining

There's always next year ... 

You can see the entire report and the official list here

Warriors-LeBron James Finals rematch possible per proposed NBA changes

Warriors-LeBron James Finals rematch possible per proposed NBA changes

When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, that all but assured there would be no future NBA Finals encounters between him and the Warriors.

Not so fast.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported Saturday that the NBA is considering making dramatic changes to the league calendar, citing sources. The potential changes include slightly shortening the regular season, instituting a 30-team in-season tournament, a postseason play-in setup and a reseeding of the four conference finalists. All changes would take effect for the 2021-22 season, the NBA's 75th anniversary.

The conference finalists would be reseeded according to their regular-season records. This would, in theory, increase the likelihood that the league's two best teams advance to the NBA Finals.

After facing LeBron in the Finals four consecutive years, you can be sure the prospect of facing The King again for the ultimate prize isn't an ideal scenario for the Warriors, despite the fact they prevailed in three of those four series. It's worth noting, though, that due to the timing, a fifth potential Finals matchup with LeBron might not be as daunting for Golden State as the last four.

Given that the proposed changes would go in effect for the 2021-22 season, the Warriors have reason to believe James wouldn't be as effective in their next Finals encounter as he is now. That's at least two more seasons of immense mileage for the active leader in career minutes played, and given the way the Lakers have looked to begin the current season, a lengthy playoff run wouldn't come as a surprise. Meanwhile, the Warriors essentially are taking an off-year, understanding that the current season is a lost one, but the next one offers the possibility of an expedited turnaround.

[RELATED: Warriors, resigned to their fate, smart to be looking ahead]

If and when the Warriors and Lakers meet in the Finals at least two-plus seasons from now, there's a good chance James won't be able to put his team on his back quite like Golden State has seen him do so many times.

Then again, we've never seen anyone like James, and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Until he calls it quits, the Warriors likely are going to have to go through him, whether it's on their way to the Finals, or for the championship.