Early on Monday afternoon, the NBA released the Last Two Minute Report from the Golden State Warriors' 104-100 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their second-round series. Per the report, James Harden was not fouled on his potential game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
"Harden (HOU) draws Green (GSW) into the air during his shot attempt. Green jumps in front of Harden and would have missed him if Harden hadn't extended his legs," the report stated.
However, the report did note three different missed calls on the Warriors down the stretch. The first was an incorrect no-call on Steph Curry that should have fouled him out of the game, next was a travel on Klay Thompson and finally there was another incorrect no-call on Curry on the final possession that once again should have fouled him out.
After the final buzzer sounded, a frustrated James Harden let off some steam in the postgame press conference by complaining about the officiating. Specifically, Harden was upset about the Warriors encroaching on his landing space after he takes jump shots.
"I just want a fair chance," Harden said. "We all know what happened a couple years back with Kawhi. Call the game the way it's supposed to be called and we'll live with the results."
Harden was referencing the Zaza Pachulia undercut Kawhi Leonard, leaving him with an ankle injury that kept him out for the rest of the series. That one moment not only swung the series in the Warriors' favor, but opened up a wider discussion about protecting jump shooters.from the 2017 Western Conference finals, when
This season, in particular, the league made an emphasis to call fouls on defenders when they didn't give a shooter any space to land. As we've seen time and again, it can be a dangerous play, and that's why fouls are called even if there's no contact on the shot. In Game 1 of this series, the Rockets felt the refs let a number of those plays go.
In the first half, there were multiple times where Klay Thompson infringed on Harden's landing space but wasn't called for a foul. It was such a theme that the TV broadcast even brought it up.
Towards the end of the third quarter, there was another play where Chris Paul actually made a wild, flailing 3 but didn't get the call, then complained to the ref and was given a technical. A few moments later, head coach Mike D'Antoni got a "T" of his own.
Finally, in the waning seconds, with the Warriors clinging to a three-point lead, Harden believed he was fouled by Draymond Green on a potential game-tying shot.
There has been and will continue to be plenty of debate about the last play, as a foul call would have given Harden a chance to go to the line and tie the game. On that one though, it's pretty clear that Harden jumps forward, which makes it a very difficult call for the referee. How far does the area around a shooter's feet extend? It's not clear, and is often left to the referee's judgment.
But after a number of missed calls on similar plays throughout the game -- D'Antoni told the press that referees admitted missing four such calls in the first half alone -- it's easy to see why Harden and the Rockets were upset.
Draymond Green wasn't having it though. After being informed of Harden's comments, a dismissive Green joked, "I've been fouled by James on a James 3-pointer before."