Rockets are in trouble if referees are not giving them generous foul calls
James Harden has made his living by getting the benefit of the doubt from referees. During Sunday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals between his Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors, he wasn’t as lucky.
The officials in Game 1 were not giving the Rockets the kinds of foul calls they have been used to getting. Late in the third quarter, Chris Paul made a 3-pointer and kicked his legs out. He complained about not receiving a foul call and ended up being called for a tech, as did head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Then with the Warriors leading 103-100 in the final seconds, James Harden attempted a 3-pointer. He thought he was fouled by Draymond Green but did not receive a call. Chris Paul again complained about the lack of a call and got called for a second tech that triggered an ejection.
Those were the two high-profile missed or no-calls. Here was another:
Refs letting Klay go Zaza on James Harden pic.twitter.com/R46dSvVXHV
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 28, 2019
Beyond that, D’Antoni says the refs told him they missed fouls by the Warriors on close outs of Harden.
Mike D’Antoni says refs admitted at halftime they missed fouls on Warriors closing out on James Harden. “They missed four of them. That’s 12 foul shots.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 28, 2019
Harden is nearly unstoppable because he is never called for traveling on his stepback, and because he tends to draw fouls on that shot. The officials seemed to make a conscious effort not to call fouls in those situations. If that continues, that’s taking one of the biggest weapons away from Houston, which would help swing things in Golden State’s favor. How they call things in Game 2 and beyond will have a big say in which team emerges victorious.