Houston Rockets star James Harden has attempted 81 more free throws than any other NBA player this season.
Harden has mastered the art of drawing fouls, but on Thursday night he was on the other end of the spectrum and was the one being whistled for fouls.
Harden fouled out of the Rockets’ 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers including being called for four offensive fouls. It was the first time all season that the reigning MVP fouled out of a game, according to USA Today, and he didn’t hold back in his criticism of the refs.
“The Beard” directed his anger at one referee in particular: 25-year vet Scott Foster, who whistled two of the six fouls on Harden.
— NICK HAMILTON (@NickHamiltonLA) February 22, 2019
“Scott Foster, man. I never really talk about officiating or anything like that, but just rude and arrogant,” Harden told reporters. “I mean, you aren’t able to talk to him throughout the course of the game, and it’s like, how do you build that relationship with officials? And it’s not even that call (on the sixth foul). It’s just who he is on that floor.
“It’s pretty frustrating. And I’m probably going to get hit (with a fine), but honestly, I don’t really say anything. I’m a pretty quiet guy, to myself, but it’s one of those things where you can’t voice your opinion. You can’t have a conversation with someone that’s officiating the game. You’re getting a tech. It’s pretty sad.”
In addition to the two charges he called against Harden, Foster also handed out two late technical fouls to Chris Paul and coach Mike D’Antoni.
Paul has a longstanding beef with Foster and was fortunate to not receive a second technical foul for mocking Foster after being whistled for his first tech.
Chris Paul received another tech last night from ref Scott Foster.
James Harden on Foster: “For sure, it’s personal.” pic.twitter.com/GwsTeEBNOM
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 22, 2019
“I don’t know what else to do, know what I mean?” Paul said about Foster, according to ESPN. “I met with the league with him before and all this stuff. I don’t know what else to do.”
Foster was voted the league’s worst referee in a 2016 poll of players and coaches, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Lakers attempted 33 free throws in the game compared with the Rockets’ 15 attempts. The whistles seemed to favor the Lakers even more so in the second half as the Rockets did not attempt a single free throw over the last 20 minutes of the game.
The second half is also when the Lakers made their run as they overcame a 19-point deficit for a much-needed win. Los Angeles attempted 17 free throws over the last 20 minutes of the game.
Even though Harden fouled out, he still managed to extend his 30-points-or-more scoring streak. Harden finished with exactly 30 points to run the streak to 32 games.
That puts him just about halfway to Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record as Chamberlain scored 30 or more points in 65 straight games during the 1961-62 season.
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