The star players were dropping like flies in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
First it was Steph Curry suffering a dislocated finger a few minutes into the game. Then a few minutes later, James Harden left the game after being inadvertently smacked in the eye by Draymond Green.
Oh no. James Harden is down after taking a hit from Draymond… pic.twitter.com/7OzmRLTT0U
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) May 1, 2019
Green caught Harden while going up for a rebound off Harden’s miss. He did not hit the Rockets star intentionally and even approached him to let him know that.
Harden subbed out halfway through the first quarter after being hurt and went to the locker room with an eye injury. He was 0/3 in the game and had not scored to that point.
James Harden does not think he was officiated fairly in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
There were three plays in the first half where a defender seemed to land in Harden’s landing space in the first half. None were called fouls. Then there were two high-profile incidents where fouls were not called, both of which Chris Paul received a technical foul for because he complained.
Harden was not happy about these close-outs by Klay + CP3 and Mike D'Antoni get techs after a no-call. pic.twitter.com/p1hKXw1DsC
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) April 28, 2019
The lack of calls influenced the game and helped the Warriors win 104-100. Afterwards, Harden said he wanted a “fair chance” from the officials.
James Harden: “I just want a fair chance, man. Just call the game the way it’s supposed to be called and we’ll live with the results.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 28, 2019
Many around the league, including Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Rockets GM Daryl Morey, are wondering whether the league will say calls were missed.
Been working on things since 2006 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ https://t.co/DchJM8vl2l
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) April 28, 2019
The officials apparently told Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni that they missed calls in the game.
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
How the officials call the rest of the games of the series will help dictate the outcome. If they continue to not give Houston calls, the Rockets are toast.
James Harden has his swag on 100 before Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals series between his Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.
Harden entered Oracle Arena on Sunday wearing a colorful outfit.
James Harden with a very colorful outfit before the Rockets-Warriors game pic.twitter.com/0u9AfFDTEz
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2019
Harden in Oakland reppin every set pic.twitter.com/aLO6lnod4o
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) April 28, 2019
The colors were bold, but dang, if that outfit doesn’t look comfy as heck, I don’t know what is.
Harden has become known for his pregame outfits prior to nationally-televised games. He got attention for his neon suit before a Christmas game, and nothing, I mean nothing, tops his snakeskin outfit.
Houston was hoping that the outfit put him in the right mindset for the team’s highly-anticipated game against Golden State, which is a rematch of last year’s conference finals.
James Harden and Jae Crowder got face-to-face early in Saturday’s Game 3 of the first-round playoff series between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.
Harden was called for two early fouls in the game, including one for making contact with Donovan Mitchell on a corner three. Crowder came over and gave Harden an elbow, which the former MVP didn’t like. Harden responded with a push, and the two got face-to-face.
Donovan Mitchell drains the and-one three and James Harden and Jae Crowder get into a heated altercation pic.twitter.com/lR7iIQZbCY
— Tailgate Sports (@_TailgateSports) April 21, 2019
The officials reviewed the play but did not hand out any discipline.
Harden had a difficult start to the game. In addition to getting in early foul trouble, he also missed his first five field goal attempts.
James Harden got a little cocky a little too early on Wednesday night.
Early in Game 2 of the Houston Rockets-Utah Jazz first round playoff series, Harden shook Ricky Rubio with a stepback move. Rubio was so lost that Harden had a few seconds of empty space to clown around and do a shimmy. The only problem is Harden missed the shot:
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 18, 2019
As they said on Shaqtin’ A Fool, that’s a million dollar move and a 10 cent finish.
Million dollar move…
— Shaqtin' a Fool (@shaqtin) April 18, 2019
Sadly for Rubio, that might not be the worst he’s taken from Harden. This crossover in 2015 was pretty bad too.
The Utah Jazz have drawn a very tough first-round playoff matchup against the Houston Rockets, and it goes without saying that their biggest challenge will be defending James Harden. Patrick Beverley may or may not be trying to help them handle that.
After Utah’s regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, Beverley was seen having an animated conversation with Jazz forward Jae Crowder. Judging by the body language, many felt Beverley was giving Crowder pointers on how to defend Harden.
— Todd Patton (@ToddPatton) April 11, 2019
There’s no way to know for sure, but that’s probably a good guess. Beverley, who was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team back in 2017, is considered one of the better defenders in the league. He was also teammates with Harden in Houston. Crowder is another defensive-minded player, and he has done a solid job against star players like LeBron James in the past.
Harden averaged an incredible 36.1 points per game during the regular season, so the Jazz will likely look for ways to slow him down rather than stop him. Regardless of what one NBA announcer thinks of Harden’s style of play, it seems to be working for Houston.
There is no NBA player whose style of play is more polarizing than James Harden’s. Many people do not like his style of iso ball, the way he constantly draws fouls, and how he shuffles his feat on his stepback. One announcer seemed to take thing further than most criticism, saying Harden’s style is like “cheating.”
During the Los Angeles Clippers’ home loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, Clippers TV analyst Don MacLean compared Harden’s style to almost cheating the game and said that it wasn’t basketball.
"This style, what Harden does, is manipulating the game somehow. Almost like cheating it somehow" pic.twitter.com/Rygn1GL9TU
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) April 4, 2019
Harden had 31 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the game. He’s bumped up his scoring averages in six straight seasons and is averaging a career-best 36.3 points per game. Many people just don’t like watching the way he plays, though a good deal seem to be impressed by it.
One All-Star recently talked about what makes Harden so difficult to guard, and never one did he suggest it was due to improper style.