While there was little doubt that Harden was absolutely phenomenal in leading his team to victory with a 47-point, six-rebound, five-assist night, there was a pretty ridiculous no-call during a key sequence late in the game.
With the Rockets leading 97-94 with roughly 54 seconds remaining in the contest, Harden pulled off a step-back jumper in which Ricky Rubio was called for a shooting foul. It wasn't just a step-back, however -- it was a double step-back, which means that it was a travel. Except the problem is, there was no travel called.
This was pivotal, because it should have been a turnover. The Jazz's Donovan Mitchell ended up hitting three free throws on the ensuing possession, which would have meant it would have been a tie ball game had a turnover been properly called.
Harden has received a lot of flack over the years. Whether it's because of all of the questionable foul calls he draws on offense or the perception that he doesn't get called for enough defensive fouls, there's a lot of criticism surrounding the way Harden is officiated by the refs.
Following this no-call on an obvious traveling violation, NBA Twitter had a lot of fun cracking jokes regarding how referees officiate the reigning MVP.
James Harden 😂😂😂😂😂😂❤❤❤❤— Lucas (@LucasMendes972) December 18, 2018
📍 James Harden looks like that silly @$$ crab from Spongebob in his movements!— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) December 18, 2018
He’s a superstar & he’s gonna get that call! Michael & Kobe did! Allen Iverson palmed the ball for a long time. We’ve gone from palming to dribbling w/ no call.
We need a Mueller investigation! https://t.co/WLDKhwleS2
The refs letting James harden get away with everything is making dislike James harden— Eric (@EpicMamba24) December 18, 2018
I’ll just say it: James Harden is anti-basketball.— Clay Merritt (@NotClayMerritt) December 18, 2018
One thing is for certain -- Harden is definitely "creative" on offense. He proved it in Monday night's win over the Jazz.