James Harden was among the Houston Rockets who were frustrated with referee Scott Foster following the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, and he made an extreme suggestion afterwards.
Harden was called for two offensive fouls in the final three minutes of the game and fouled out for the first time all season and just the seventh time in his career. The calls took away Houston’s best player and resulted in two turnovers during a close part of the game.
After the loss, Harden called Foster “rude” and “arrogant” and said he probably shouldn’t be allowed to officiate Rockets games because of a personal issue with the team.
Harden said this was for sure personal, and that he probably “shouldn’t be allowed to officiate our games anymore.”
— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) February 22, 2019
Chris Paul says he has met with the league about Foster in the past and doesn’t know what else to do.
Chris Paul on his relationship with referee Scott Foster: “I don’t know what else to do – I’ve met with the league with him before. I don’t know what else to do.”
James Harden: “For sure it’s personal, for sure.”
Harden says Foster shouldn’t officiate Rockets games anymore.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 22, 2019
Paul had an issue with Foster last year as well.
In a 2016 survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times, players and coaches named Foster the worst referee in the league — by a significant margin.
A normally mild-mannered Mike D’Antoni was fired up when defending star James Harden against criticism Harden has received during his historic streak.
Harden went into the NBA’s All-Star break having scored at least 30 points in 31 consecutive games. He looked to continue the streak in the Houston Rockets’ game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Leading up to the game, D’Antoni went on a bit of rant and passionately defended Harden when he was asked to comment about Harden’s critics.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is as cool as they come, but he got pretty fired up when asked about criticism of James Harden stemming from his streak of 31 straight 30-point games. D’Antoni’s rant: pic.twitter.com/w9B2AEqsNB
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 22, 2019
The Rockets have been ravaged by injuries. Chris Paul and Clint Capela, Houston’s two best players besides Harden, have both missed extensive time during the streak. That resulted in Harden shouldering more of the scoring load than usual.
Harden angers some with his mastery of drawing fouls. Others don’t like his isolation-heavy offensive style of play. D’Antoni and the Rockets have needed every bit of James Harden’s skills to stay in the hunt for home court advantage during the playoffs. The scoring efforts may even earn Harden a second MVP Award, despite what his detractors say.
Houston Rockets star James Harden squared off in an entertaining matchup with Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic on Monday night, and in some ways it was a showdown between teacher and pupil.
Following the game, which the Rockets won 120-104, Doncic told reporters he has studied Harden’s game and tries to model his own after it.
Luka Doncic says he's studied James Harden's game, "especially the drawing fouls and the stepback. I watch a lot of his film, for sure." A lot of basketball people consider Harden the best comp for Doncic.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 12, 2019
Doncic led the Mavericks with 21 points in the game. Harden led the Rockets and all scorers with 31. Three of Doncic’s 21 came on a beautiful step-back with Harden defending.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 12, 2019
It’s also worth noting that Harden drew a blocking foul on Doncic that the rookie was not pleased about.
Harden gets a steal and draws a blocking foul on an unhappy Luka Doncic pic.twitter.com/H8kbxCEsoy
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 12, 2019
Doncic’s game has often been compared to Harden’s, and Harden probably shares the same opinion as the first-round pick about scoring in the NBA. Harden is averaging an absurd 36.5 points per game this season, so the Mavs should have no problem with Doncic studying his game.
James Harden’s 30-point scoring streak continued on Monday despite a sore shoulder sustained during a game over the weekend.
During Saturday’s game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden got tangled up with Steven Adams. The result was a sore shoulder that required attention from the Rockets’ training staff during the game. Later that evening, Harden downplayed the impact of the sore shoulder on his play.
Harden on his sore shoulder: "I just caught up w/ Adams. He's a pretty strong guy. I'll be all right." Did it impact his play or decisions? "I'm not going to make excuses. They played well. They made big-time shots. We didn't have a great 3rd quarter. That's the story of the gm."
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 10, 2019
Following Monday’s win over the Dallas Mavericks, in which Harden eclipsed the 30-point mark for the 30th game in a row, Mike D’Antoni said the sore shoulder bothered his star throughout the night.
D'Antoni said, unprompted, that Harden was bothered by the sore shoulder from getting tied with with Adams on Sunday. "The shoulder is bothering him. He did not have a great game."
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 12, 2019
Harden will likely continue to downplay the effects of the soreness on his play. However, now that D’Antoni has made it public that Harden is bothered by it, this will be something worth monitoring. Harden is as important to the Rockets as any player is to his team.
- James Harden
Kobe Bryant poured some cold water on the Houston Rockets’ current style of play, and James Harden is actually in agreement.
On Monday, Bryant said on ESPN that Houston’s current style of having Harden dominate the ball is not one that can win championships.
“I’m not a fan of it in terms of winning championships,” Bryant said on ESPN. “I don’t think that style is ever going to win championships. But at the same time, you have to keep your team’s head above water to win games. You have to do what you have to do to win games. And he’s doing that.”
Bryant knows first-hand about dominating the ball and trying to carry a team the way Harden is. Prior to Harden’s run of high-scoring games this season, Kobe’s ’05-’06 season where he averaged 35.6 points per game was the closest thing that resembled it. The Lakers went 45-37 that season and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Harden is now averaging 36.5 points per game this season after a torrid January in which he averaged over 43 points per game. He knows he’ll need much more help from his teammates in order to have greater team success. He therefore agrees with Kobe.
Harden had no issue with Kobe Bryant saying being so ball dominant won't win a title. “I have to be ball dominant because we have injuries. For right now, he's probably right. This way won’t get us where we want to go. We haven't had a full roster yet. I'm excited for that."
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 5, 2019
Now that they have Chris Paul back and are getting some other players back up to speed, Harden expects to be able to share things more.
The other part of that Harden quote: "But when we get Chris in a rhythm and Eric back and our full roster, we have multiple guys that can make plays, dominate the ball." https://t.co/yu5t3U09nc
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 5, 2019
Harden was more or less doing what he had to given the Rockets’ situation. With CP3 back, Austin Rivers and Kenneth Faried added to the mix, and perhaps another addition coming, Houston is getting deeper.
James Harden expressed disappointment with his Houston Rockets after a 121-116 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Tuesday night.
Harden’s Rockets were up most of the first half and led by seven at the half. They consistently led throughout the game until the final 14 minutes or so when the Pelicans took the lead.
Then down by four with around 15 seconds to go, Harden stepped out of bounds because he was expecting a foul call that never came. That turnover helped seal things for the Pelicans.
After the game, Harden said the loss was “terrible” and called out his Rockets for a lack of energy.
James Harden: “A terrible loss for us, terrible. Lay down.
“We had no energy. It was from the beginning of the game, too. We let them get too many easy looks, easy layups. We didn’t put (any) defensive pressure on them at all. And it just carried out the entire game.”
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) January 30, 2019
The team was off in many regards. Harden was just 11/32 shooting as the team shot 39.6 percent from the field. The Pelicans shot 51.1 percent on the other hand.
Houston is now 1-1 since Chris Paul’s return from a hamstring injury.
- James Harden
PJ Tucker had a funny comment about James Harden’s defensive stop to seal the Houston Rockets’ win on Friday night.
The Rockets were up 121-119 on the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard had the ball for the final shot. He made a move on Harden and ended up throwing up an airball.
James Harden LOCKS DOWN Kawhi with the game on the line… wait, what? pic.twitter.com/YshyQjNRMG
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 26, 2019
Harden bothered Leonard enough that he took an uncomfortable shot at the buzzer. After the win, Tucker joked that Harden “can play defense when he wants to.”
PJ Tucker, with a wry smile, on James Harden’s game-saving stop on Kawhi Leonard: “He can play defense when he wants to.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 26, 2019
That is the truth. Harden has been ridiculed over his defense, with a particular video of his most embarrassing plays damaging his reputation. When he wants to, though, he can be good on that end, just as he showed against Toronto.