OAKLAND, California. – Houston Rockets guard James Harden defended a "good chance" of officials after Houston's 104-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Sunday's Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Harden and the Rockets were especially upset by what they believed were several incorrect charges in their 3-point attempts when the Warriors were allowed to close without giving Harden the required landing space. According to Harden and coach Mike D Antoni, the referees admitted in the interval that they had lost four of those charges in the first half.
"I'm going to try to be a nice guy because I really do not want to give them money, I'd rather have my money for charity," said D Antoni, referring to a possible fine for criticizing the police "So I want saying the answer was that they came in at half-time and said they missed them, that's what they told me, they lost four of them, 12 bad shots, whatever, they're trying to do their best. "
Harden thought he also received a foul in two 3-point attempts in the second half, including one. Draymond Green in a potential attempt to tie the game with 7.4 seconds remaining. Klay Thompson was the defender on the other non-calls that bothered the Rockets.
"I mean, I just want a fair shot, man," said Harden, who scored 35 points but was 9 x 28 for the ground and 4 x 16 for the 3-point line. "Judge the game as you should judge and that's it, and I'll live with the results."
Kobe Bryant collapses last night's game during the NBA's post-season. Veil on ESPN +
Harden was 14 of 14 on the line, but the Warriors were only asked for a foul when he tried a triple. This happened in the first quarter, when Harden's arm was clearly hit by the Golden State Alfonzo McKinnie
Harden made reference to the late-stage injury suffered by Kawhi Leonard in the San Antonio Spurs' Game 1 loss to the Warriors in late 2017 when he fell on Zaza Pachulia's foot after firing a jumper. which is why referees should be aware of the rule requiring 3-point shooters to have room to land.
"We all know what happened years ago to Kawhi," Harden said. "It can change the whole series, it just calls the game the way it should be called and we're going to live with the results, it's simple and simple."
The guard of the rockets, Chris Paul and D Antoni were called up for technical fouls to protest an unidentified call after Paul scored a 3 with 35.4 seconds remaining in the third quarter. They were furious because the Golden State guard, Shaun Livingston, was not whistled for not allowing Paul any landing space.
"To film a 3 and 1, get a technology, I mean, it's difficult," said Paul. "But I have to be smarter because it has done nothing but harm our team."
Paul was sent off after receiving his second technical foul with 4.4 seconds remaining. He seemed to get in touch with referee Josh Tiven. When asked about the incident, Paul said, "I have not seen it yet."
The team's sources believe that any contact between Paul and Tiven was minimal and unnoticed and would not deserve any league discipline.
Harden, who led the league in made and attempted free throws in each of the last five seasons, gets a foul while throwing 3s more than any other player in the league, largely because his step back is so difficult to compete without making contact.