Houston Rockets superstar James Harden pleaded for a “fair chance” from officials following their loss to the Golden State Warriors in Sunday’s Game 1 Western Conference semifinals.
Harden and his teammates were fuming all game from non-calls on 3-point attempts. There were 6-times when the defender closed-out within the shooters landing zone. According to coach Mike D’Antoni, and Harden, the referees even admitted to missing the calls at halftime, but they continued to miss them.
“I’m going to try to be a nice guy because I really don’t want to give the charity to them. I’d rather have my charity have the money,” D’Antoni said, referring to a potential fine for criticizing officiating. “So, I mean, the response was they came in halftime and said they missed them. That’s what they told me. They missed four of them. That’s 12 foul shots. So be it. They’re trying to do the best they can do.”
Harden thought he got fouled on a pair of BIG 3-point shots in the second half, including the game-tying attempt with 7.4 seconds left in the game. This non-call even created a technical against the Rockets.
“I mean, I just want a fair chance, man,” said Harden, who scored 35 points but was 9-of-28 from the floor and 4-of-16 from behind the 3-point line. “Call the game how it’s supposed to be called, and that’s it. And I’ll live with the results.”
The NBA’s senior VP of replay and referee opts, said that Green DID NOT foul Harden because he went across the shooting zone, not into it. He also claimed that Harden “jackknifed” into contact with the defender, therefore not exhibiting a standard follow-through.
Harden even referenced the series-ending injury to Kawhi Leonard against GSW in the 2017 Western Conference Finals on which he landed on the defenders foot and was out the rest of the season. It’s labeled a dirty play by most.
The officiating was not the only reason the Rockets lost in Game 1. Kevin Durant showed up again scoring 35 points. GSW dominated the glass even though they went small. However the officiating still left them angry and bitter. We’ll see how they call it Game 2!